Some schools in Canada are now banning “13 Reasons Why” on school grounds, and here’s why

Netflix hit a goldmine when bringing 13 Reasons Why to its platform. And while many are reaping the benefits from the open dialogue surrounding teen angst, some aren’t too keen on the show’s common themes. In fact, its blunt portrayal of bullying, sexual assault, and suicide has lead some Canadian schools to ban 13 Reasons Why from being discussed on school grounds.

There’s no arguing that the Jay Asher adaptation has some heavy, and mature content. And to be fair, it totally makes sense for parents to be weary about allowing their younger children to tune in. According to Principal Azza Ghali, of St. Vincent Elementary School, “the discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling.”

Ghali delivered the disclaimer to the student’s parents via email, explaining just why the show has been banned from the campus.

The school email continued, "This series is rated Mature and the theme is the suicide of a high school student. This show includes graphic violence (rape) and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes."

Parents should totally use caution when introducing their elementary school aged children to the series.

But, banning the series completely? We can’t say that we’re on board with this. Especially since it sounds as if students have already been discussing the show on campus.

The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board posted a disclaimer to its website about the series. And it explained why parents should use fine judgement when allowing their children to tune in. The district totally understands that the series could encourage teens suffering to seek help. But, on the other hand, thinks that the show “may harm students who struggle with mental health challenges.” And as a result, has asked that teachers not address the series in classrooms.

“It has graphic content related to suicide, glamorization of suicidal behaviour and negative portrayals of helping professionals, which may prevent youth from seeking help,” the letter continued. “Incidents of self-harm can increase after media portrayals of suicide. We do not want to contribute to this.”

It’s a sticky situation. But, it’s nice to see that even school districts are engaging in the discussion.

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