Lehigh Valley

District superintendent warns parents about popular series '13 Reasons Why'

WILSON BOROUGH, Pa. - A Netflix series that's been criticized for glorifying teen depression and suicide has a local school district taking action.

It only takes a few moments of watching the Netflix series, "13 Reasons Why," to find out the main character has committed suicide.

She also leaves behind 13 tapes to friends she says led her to the decision to take her own life.

Wilson Area School District Superintendent, Douglas Wagner, sent a letter to all parents letting them know about the popularity of the show and that students are talking about it at school.

Many parents declined an on-camera interview, but said they are happy the alert went out and will speak to their children about it.

"Even if the kids haven't seen it, they should at least become educated themselves as to what this is,” said clinical social worker, Elizabeth Danubio. “What it is talking about it and if they have seen it, talk about it."

The letter also talks about the heavy drinking, drug use, and bullying that are common themes on the show.

Danubio counsels a lot of teens, and says parents are asking about the series as well, especially because of how bullying has become more widespread than in the past because of all the social media.

“These people can get ahold of Facebook, can get ahold of your text message number, can get ahold of however else you are out there and continue to harass you and continue to send this information,"  she said.

Wagner declined to comment and said he will let the letter speak for itself. He doesn't want to bring more attention to the series for those who haven't watched it, but Danubio said now is the perfect time to talk about it.

"Obviously we have access to the same thing that the kids do, but we want to pull the wool up over in front of our eyes and say that really doesn't happen to my kid when it could," said Danubio.

At the end of the letter, Wagner said students can speak to school counselors or school psychologists about any issues.

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