Since its release last month, Netflix’s YA fiction adaptation 13 Reasons Why has attracted a heavy dose of controversy for its depiction of the suicide of a young high school student. On the one hand, there are those—like Jay Asher, author of the show’s source novel—who claim that its depiction of suicide de-glamorizes the act, while encouraging people to look for signs of potential danger in the people around them. Others, however, have slammed the show, backed up with statistics that show that media about suicide encourages people to commit self-harm.
Now, several schools and school boards in Canada have put their foot down on the matter, with at least one banning all discussion of the program by its students. To be fair, though, that school—located in Alberta—is an elementary school, and its sixth graders were apparently discussing the program’s various lurid and violent details. The note sent home to students about the program reads thus:
The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling. 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. 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.”
Meanwhile, an Ontario school board issued a statement to parents, warning that the series may “harm students who struggle with mental health challenges,” and noting that they’ve asked teachers not to use the show as a teaching aid. (The board also prepared a list of guidelines to help parents talk with their kids about the show.) Meanwhile, 13 Reasons Why remains incredibly popular, especially online, where it’s the most tweeted-about show of 2017 to date.