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Letter of Support and Resources on 13 Reasons Why

May 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am writing to inform you about a new Netflix series titled 13 Reasons Why and its possible impact on our students. 13 Reasons Why is gaining popularity and we have concerns that the series may increase thoughts of suicide among students.  All three school systems in Catawba County have collaborated to put resources in the hands of our parents and students to help address this important topic.

The show is based on a novel and the story of 17-year-old girl who takes her own life. She leaves behind 13 recordings explaining the reasons why she chose to commit suicide. While the show brings up the importance to talk about suicidal thoughts, it portrays situations where youth are dealing with serious issues, from bullying to sexual assault, without getting support from adults.

Our social workers and school counselors are trained in suicide prevention and supports and, unlike some of the adults in 13 Reasons Why, take all reports seriously. You may wish to discuss the series, or thoughts of suicide, with your student. Talk to your student about what they can do if they have a friend that is expressing thoughts about hurting themselves. Remind your student that there is help available if they ever feel sad or depressed. Be sure your student has the hotline numbers listed below.

If your student has warning signs of depression or suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk. Instead, it decreases the risk by providing an opportunity for help.

If your child is in need of assistance, please reach out to your school counselors or administrative staff.

Respectfully,

Dr. Aron Gabriel
Associate Superintendent
Newton-Conover City Schools

Helpful Resources

National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255

Safe2Tell at 877-542-7233

North Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign:  www.itsok2ask.com  

Talking Points for Parents: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-andpublications/resources/school-safety-andcrisis/preventing-youth-suicide/13-reasons-why-netflix-series-considerations-for-educators

About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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