13 Reasons Why: Superintendent addresses controversial TV show

A new Netflix original series portraying teen suicide, 13 Reasons Why, has ignited a wave of concern from parents and school administrators in Ridgefield.

Like many other neighboring districts and across the country, Ridgefield Public Schools sent out a letter to parents concerning the show that has rapidly become popular among teens and middle school-age children.

“13 Reasons Why contains mature subject matter, including depictions of rape, drug use and suicide,” wrote Superintendent Karen Baldwin.

“The content of the series is extremely graphic with troubling scenes throughout each episode which may be difficult for the teenage mind to watch and process in an appropriate way.”

The 13-episode series, based on a novel by Jay Asher, features a 17-year-old girl who commits suicide, and posthumously reveals 13 tapes addressed to 13 individuals she feels were responsible.

Baldwin acknowledged that an open dialogue about the subject is important, but said the show itself might cause more harm than good.

“Series such as this can be thought-provoking, but they can also do harm. The series romanticizes the idea of suicide, does not express what to do in harmful situations in terms of getting help or utilizing healthy coping skills, and school support staff is portrayed as non-responsive.”