"13 Reasons Why" What Parents Need to Know

  • Dear Scottsbluff Public Schools Families

    We are communicating with you because your student’s safety and well-being are our top priorities.  We want to support their social-emotional health in and outside of our schools.

    You may be aware there is a national conversation centered on a recently released Netflix series titled, “13 Reasons Why, an adaption of a novel of the same name.  The novel and series focus on a young woman who completes suicide and leaves behind tapes for classmates that describe the 13 reasons why she made the decision.  The series is popular among young adults, including students in our district. 

    We are communicating about the series specifically because experts such as the National Association of school Psychologists “do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch the series.”  NASP goes on to say, “while many youths are resilient and capable of differentiating between a TV drama and real life, engaging in thoughtful discussions with them… is vital,” if any student chooses to watch the show.  Also, please know that students who do not have access to Netflix may still be able to watch portions of the series on YouTube.

    What the series does accurately convey is that there is no single cause of suicide.  Indeed, there are likely as many different pathways to suicide as there are suicide deaths.  However, the series does not emphasize that common among most suicide deaths is the presence of treatable mental illnesses.  Suicide is not the simple consequence of stressors or coping challenges, but rather, it is most typically a combined result of treatable mental illnesses and overwhelming or intolerable stressors.

    We have included NASP’s guidance with talking points for you as families to best support your child.

    If your child is struggling, we have resources to help.  School Counselors are available to support you and your student.  Families can also contact the Panhandle Health Group at 635-3171.  The national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  If a student is in immediate danger, you can take your child to the Regional West Medical Center to be evaluated or call 911.

    In addition, Scottsbluff Public Schools has a TIP Line 308-633-9999.  TIPS is a comprehensive platform for reporting, tracking and documenting incidents and concerns.  TIPS empowers students, parents, teachers and community members to be heard and to anonymously report warning signs and past, present and predicted crimes in our school community. The goal of TIPS is prevention and to help identify red flags and warning signs before an incident occurs or escalates

    The national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  Thank you for partnering with us to keep your student safe.

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