There's no denying that Netflix's "13 Reasons Why" has struck a chord, but with some viewers, it is the wrong one.
The drama series has been both praised and criticized for its depiction of a teen suicide and the events leading up to it, and the latter reaction is becoming more common among schools in Canada. In fact, at least one Canadian elementary school has banned students from even discussing the show at school, according to CBC.
St. Vincent Elementary School Principal Azza Ghali notified parents and guardians of grade six students of the situation via an email this week. She wrote that conversations about the show have been "troubling" and explained why the school does not want such discussions taking place on its grounds. Ghali referenced the show's mature and controversial content, which includes sexual assault and suicide, among other difficult issues.
"The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling," she wrote. "Please let your child know that discussion of 13 Reasons Why is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter."
Meanwhile, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board also expressed concerns to families, as Variety reports. The board warns in a letter on its website that the show "may harm students who struggle with mental health challenges." The message noted the graphic content, as well as the "glamorization of suicidal behaviors" and "negative portrayals of helping professions" that may deter students from seeking help.
Such complaints have been levied at "13 Reasons Why" in the past, but there is no clear consensus on whether the show's message is positive or negative. One of the show's writers argued in an op-ed that "13 Reasons Why" inspires necessary conversations, but mental health professionals' opinions have been divided.
In spite of the controversy, Netflix is reportedly nearing a Season 2 renewal, so "13 Reasons Why" probably isn't going anywhere, much as some educators might wish it would.