A Message Concerning “13 Reasons Why” from Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez
Dear Families of Hartford Public Schools,
It has come to our attention that some members of the school community have voiced concerns over the series “13 Reasons Why,” a popular Netflix show that is based on the young adult novel authored by Jay Asher. We want to make sure that all parents and guardians in charge of teenagers are aware of the theme content in this series, including teen suicide, bullying, abuse and neglect.
Parent/guardian awareness can help facilitate, and may encourage having thoughtful conversations with young adults. Both awareness and communication are key to prevent unexpected tragedies, and may bring to light the potential for such tragedies. As is the case with many television shows, sometimes themes that can seriously affect our children can be sensationalized and romanticized. Exposure to such fictional accounts of death can be a risk factor for youth that are struggling with mental illness, and/or youth that may be easily influenced.
As educators, we can use this as an opportunity to address these complex issues while driving the message to our youth that suicide is not an option to solve our problems, and that support is available for them when they are in need. Hartford Public Schools has staff designated and trained to assist our students with these issues. Our School Social Workers, School Counselors and Psychologists are equipped and trained to support at-risk students, as well as trained in risk factor/warning sign assessment for suicide and/or other self-harming behavior.
At Hartford Public Schools, it is our highest priority to ensure that our students can develop in a safe and nurturing learning environment in all our schools. Please feel free to reach out to your school if you or your child needs assistance.
Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools