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AJC Get Schooled: Should kids be watching new Netflix series on teen suicide?

While critics have generally panned the new Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why,” the drama about a teen suicide seems to be resonating with adolescent viewers.

Is that a problem given the serious nature of the topic and the copycat tendencies of some kids?

Charges In 11-Year-Old Boy’s Suicide Sends Message

Former Fulton Schools leader Robert Avossa now runs Palm Beach County schools in Florida. On Friday, he sent home a cautionary note to parents advising them the show appears to be resonating with students in disconcerting ways.

He wrote: “School district personnel have observed an increase in youth at-risk behavior at the elementary and middle school levels to include self-mutilation, threats of suicide, and multiple Baker Act incidents. Students involved in the recent incidents have articulated associations of their at­ risk behavior to the ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ Netflix series. The Netflix website tag-line summarizes the series theme as follows: ‘After a teenage girl’s perplexing suicide, a classmate receives a series of tapes that unravel the mystery of her tragic choice.’”

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Some metro schools are also sending parent advisories about the series.

To read more about the issue, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog. 

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