13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why – Information for St John’s Grammar School Parents & Caregivers

Many of you will be aware that, in late March, Netflix released the controversial television series, 13 Reasons Why, based on the novel by Jay Asher.

Since its release, the series has received a great deal of media focus, discussion and criticism. Many organisations and medical professionals have raised concerns over its content, particularly as the series does not meet the national media guidelines.

The wellbeing of our students and wider community is of priority and, whilst we do not wish to draw attention to the series and its subject matter, we feel it is necessary to respond  accountably to ensure social and emotional support for our community.

Some of the concerns and controversy surrounding the program are as follows:

  • The series’ content is extremely and inappropriately graphic. It depicts in detail the suicide of the main character, a teenage girl played by an Australian actor, and the people she ‘blames’ for her decision to take her life.
  • It presents particularly traumatic, realistic and graphic imagery of the character’s suicide method and two rape scenes.
  • Young people are not portrayed as being able to seek help adequately or adequate help being available.
  • The teenage bystanders to the assaults are not represented as being able to seek adequate help.
  • School staff responses to the character affected by the rape and bullying are portrayed as profoundly inadequate.
  • Some believe that the series ‘glamourises’ suicide as a ‘heroic’ or ‘romantic’ act, which of course it is not.

We are aware that many students, and parents, have watched part of, or all of this series. You may have already had some conversations with your child or discussed the series with others.

If your child has made comments about the series, or if you are aware that they have watched it, you may like to ask their opinions of it.  You may also find these talking points useful for starting a conversation.

If you have any concerns or questions in relation to this or your child/children’s wellbeing, we invite you to speak directly to our School Counsellor, Carolyn Markey (8278 0275), the Principal, Cheryl Bauer (8278 0205), or Heads of School, Richard Anderson (8278 0240) and Ben Clark (8278 0215).

You may also like to access more information through these links and contacts:

Headspace:
https://headspace.org.au/friends-and-family/
https://www.eheadspace.org.au/

Beyond Blue:
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
1300 22 4636

Reachout:
http://au.reachout.com/

Kid’s helpline:
https://kidshelpline.com.au/
1800 55 1800

Lifeline:
https://www.lifeline.org.au/
13 11 14

We reassure you that we place supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our students as an integral and ongoing part of their education from ELC – Year 12.  We do not therefore intend to draw attention to, or initiate conversations about this series in School, but will of course respond appropriately and accountably to comments or questions initiated by students.

Parent views, comments and feedback are also very much welcomed in relation to this. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Carolyn Markey
School Counsellor
cmarkey@stjohns.sa.edu.au