You may have heard of the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and/or the book by Jay Asher. The book and series depict the suicide of 13-year-old Hannah Baker and, through recordings she left behind, events that preceded her death. I’ve seen countless discussions on social media between educators, many of whom are also parents, expressing their concerns with the series. Elana Premack Sandler’s piece in Psychology Today, “13 Reasons Why ‘13 Reasons Why’ Isn’t Getting It Right” does a great job of detailing some of the issues, concluding, “13 Reasons Why doesn’t tell the much more common story of people living with (struggling with, but living with) difficult emotions and experiences and figuring out, with support and help from others, how to survive.”
Trigger warnings: suicide and other untimely deaths.
Without going into details, let’s just say it has not been a week that has reassured me for the future of humanity - and I use the word “humanity” loosely. Worse yet than the steady flow of sad and outright depressing news that streamed past me were the reactions. Very few allowed for nuance; blanket condemnation was far too frequently the order of the day, apparently issued by morally pure people whose views could save the world if the rest of us would all just realize the error of our ways and agree with them.