Okeechobee parents warned about “13 Reasons” Netflix series

Okeechobee County School District Superintendent Ken Kenworthy reached out to parents this week to warn them about potential problems from the “13 Reasons Why” series on Netflix. Nationwide, parents, educators and mental health professionals have expressed concerns that the program glamorizes suicide. Although Netflix has labeled the program MA (mature adults), many parents do not regularly monitor what their teens are watching.

In a letter sent to parents last week, Mr. Kenworthy wrote:

“As part of our commitment to a safe and secure learning environment, I am writing to increase awareness of our suicide prevention efforts.

“It has come to our attention that students are having conversations regarding the Netflix series, ‘13 Reasons Why’ even though the rating is TV-MA. The fictional series tells of a teenage girl committing suicide and leaves recordings for individuals who she says played a role in her decision.

“Recognizing that suicide is never the answer, I encourage you, if you feel it is appropriate, to please communicate with your child about suicide prevention. If your child has watched the series, talk about what he or she is feeling and how he or she can prevent such an act from occurring to others.

“In the event your student or one of their friends are experiencing deep sadness, hopelessness, depression, speaks or talks about preparing for death, you may find the resources below helpful:

• Seek assistance from any adult on school campus;

• Call the 211 Helpline for emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide or 1-866-882-2991;

• Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or
1-800-273 TALK (8255);

• Call 911 for immediate assistance.

“Teachers, counselors and staff members stand ready to assist any student who may be experiencing problems. By proactively responding, we can keep all of our students safe.”

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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