Blair High Principal Sends Letter Alerting Parents to New Season Release of 13 Reasons Why

Blair High Principal Sends Letter Alerting Parents to New Season Release of 13 Reasons Why

Renay Johnson encourages families to talk about the show

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A scene from the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why"

Via Netflix

Montgomery Blair High School’s principal, Renay Johnson, is encouraging parents to speak with their children about Friday’s Netflix release of the second season of the series 13 Reasons Why.

In a letter sent to the Silver Spring school community Thursday, Johnson noted that the show’s first season depicted suicide and touched on sensitive topics including date rape, bullying, alcohol and drug abuse, and driving under the influence. The final episode seemed to suggest that the second season could include a storyline about an active shooter, she wrote.

“It has been reported that many adolescents are re-watching season 1 in anticipation of the upcoming episodes,” Johnson wrote.

The first season was wildly popular with teens, but faced a backlash for its graphic suicide scene and handling of sensitive subjects. In the wake of this criticism, the show’s producers decided to open the second season with a 50-second disclaimer that warns viewers about the potentially upsetting content.  In discussing the show with their children, parents might want to follow guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists, she wrote. Among other things, NASP advises parents to ask their children if they’ve heard of or watched the series and to broach the topic of suicide if their children are showing warning signs.

“[D]on’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea,” the letter stated.

Parents should seek help from a mental health professional if they are concerned about the safety of their child or another young person.

You can read the letter in full here.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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