The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has become polarizing for its graphic depictions of suicide and sexual violence endured by its teen protagonists. Some have even argued that it glamorizes self-harm, and certain school districts in Canada are banning students from even discussing the show on school property. According to CBC News, the principal of St. Vincent Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta, sent an email to parents asking them to tell their kids not to talk about 13 Reasons at school, and warning them of the show’s graphic content.
“The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling,” it says in the email. “Of course what your child watches on television is completely your choice, however I wanted to let you know that many students are watching and discussing this at school. The purpose of this email is to provide you with this information. Please let your child know that discussion of 13 Reasons Why is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter.” The CBC report also has input from a representative of Edmonton Catholic Schools, of which St. Vincent is a part, saying that the principal now regrets taking such a harsh tone in her message to parents.
But her school is not the only one blacklisting the Netflix show. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in Hamilton, Ontario, issued a statement called “Suggestions for Families” that instructs teachers not to use 13 Reasons Why as “a teaching aid,” and says that it “has graphic content related to suicide, glamorization of suicidal behavior, and negative portrayals of helping professionals which may prevent youth from seeking help.” The Hamilton-Wentworth letter, however, did encourage parents to watch and discuss the show with their kids at home.