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13 Reasons Why Season 2

Thursday, May 24, 2018
As part of our Summer Safety Webinars, we wanted to discuss the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. It was just about a year ago that we sent out a letter informing you of the powerful first season, based on the book by author Jay Asher. The series revolved around a 17-year old girl who committed suicide and left behind audio recordings for the 13 people whom she says were in some way part of why she killed herself. This series has pronounced themes of bullying, drug use, drinking and driving, and voyeurism. This series also showed graphic content of rape, sexual assault, and the consequences of teens witnessing such assaults and not taking action to address the situation.
 
Last week, Netflix released the second season of 13 Reasons Why. The official synopsis of season 2 states: “Season 2 picks up in the aftermath of Hannah's death and the start of our characters' complicated journeys toward healing and recovery. Liberty High prepares to go on trial, but someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth surrounding Hannah's death concealed. A series of ominous polaroids lead Clay and his classmates to uncover a sickening secret and a conspiracy to cover it up." Netflix has placed the following warning about the show: This series contains scenes viewers may find disturbing, including graphic depictions of sexual assault, substance abuse and suicide.” Even though details and specifics about what type of situations will be presented, it can be anticipated that the content could be disturbing to some students, especially those with mental health concerns. Before each episode there will be a warning video where the actors come out of character to discuss the difficult themes of the show and encourage viewers to seek help if they need to talk about issues it presents.
 
Due to the immense popularity of season 1, we wanted to again inform parents of the potentially troubling content and recommendations for talking to your teen. Below are recommendations from the American School Counselor Association, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, and the National Association of School Psychologists.
  • Watch the show before or with your teen so you are able to discuss the issues as they come up in the show.
  • Do not trivialize what you see. If gossiping and other behaviors you see portrayed seem unimportant to you as an adult, remember that this is a daily reality for your teen.
  • Listen more than you speak. Allow the opportunity for your teen to openly discuss and issue or concerns without judgement, criticism, or punishment.
  • It is ok to admit to your child that you do not know all the answers or know how to help some of these issues, but together, you will find a way to get the help or information you need.
  • Model positive behaviors in our own lives. In addition to watching this show and discussing it with your teen, we can make sure our own behavior sets a good example. Do we gossip or bully others? Do we engage in self-harming or substance abusing behaviors? Do we perpetuate rape culture with the jokes we tell? Do we use discriminatory language in our homes?
For the past two school years, we have worked proactively in educating our students, 8th-12th grade, on gender objectification and the media, understanding sexual assault and coercion, sexual harassment and healthy relationships, victim blaming, and active bystander intervention. The Your SPACE program, presented by the Rape Crisis Center of Nevada, provided four educational presentations for our students addressing each of the topics above.
 
As always, we look to partner with our AEC families to see that we are addressing the whole student: academically, socially, and emotionally. We ask for your assistance in having these important discussions with your teen over the summer, and we will continue to address issues such as these when we return in August.
 
Maria Paxinos
Upper School Counselor