Some Maryland Schools Warn Parents About Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why”

Some schools in Maryland are warning parents about a Netflix series many students are binge watching.

The series “13 Reasons Why” is based on a young adult novel but is not intended for viewers younger than 17.

"It's about a girl who commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes with a friend to tell why she did what she did,” said Asher Fishman, a seventh-grader at North Bethesda Middle School.

Critics say it glorifies suicide.

Asher told his mother about "13 Reasons Why" after he watched it.

“I don't think it was a bad thing that he watched it,” she said. “I don't think it glorifies it.”

Asher said it could encourage some kids to do something.

“But most people probably wouldn't do it unless they are being bullied,” he said.

North Bethesda Middle, Julius West Middle, Herbert Hoover Middle and Pyle Middle sent letters home to tell parents about the series.

“We want to be proactive with our community and let them know that students are hearing about this show and watching this show,” Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Derek Turner said. “It does have some very adult themes that discuss suicide and romanticizes it.”

The North Bethesda Middle School letter states, "Mental health professionals are concerned that adolescents, watching without an adult available to process the themes and their own feelings, could be at an increased risk of self-harm. We would be particularly concerned for any student who may be struggling emotionally and views the series without the opportunity to process the content."

Parents should listen to their children and look for changes in their behavior, said National Foundation of Suicide Prevention Director Ellen Shannon.

“If they talk about taking their lives, take them seriously,” she said. “We never want to diminish a child's feelings.”

If you are looking for mental health services and resources in the D.C. area, you can find them on our Changing Minds page.

Contact Us