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Dear FIRSTNAME, 

 

We are writing to all Middle School and High School parents, as we did one year ago, regarding the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why; the pilot for the second season of this series will be airing this weekend, and in light of this we would like to share our thoughts with you.


The series, based on a novel of the same name, focuses on a girl who commits suicide, leaving behind audio recordings for thirteen people who she says played different roles in her decision to kill herself.  The show contains extremely graphic and disturbing depictions of violence, including rape and suicide. We are reaching out again to inform you that the second season of the series will be released on Friday May 18th.


Parents reasonably make different decisions about what is appropriate for their children.  We are writing to encourage you to be involved in the decision of whether your child watches this show and, if your child is watching or has watched it, to encourage you to watch it and discuss it with him or her.  You might find this resource from the National Association for School Psychologists helpful as you think about these decisions and discussions:

http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/preventing-youth-suicide/13-reasons-why-netflix-series-considerations-for-educators.


Most importantly, while 13 Reasons Why is generating high levels of conversation and concern, this series is just the most recent reminder of how much complex, emotionally challenging, potentially disturbing, and age-inappropriate content our students can access with ease.  Whatever you think of this particular television series, we are also writing to remind you, this week and every week, to talk with your children--regularly and often--about what they are viewing on their computers, phones, and televisions.  While your children might not always be eager for these conversations, we encourage you to persevere: Ask questions, be persistent, and engage your children in discussions of what they are encountering on social media and on their screens.


As always, our school psychologists--including Jerry Wishner, our Director of Student Services/School Psychologist; Emily Arnstein, our Middle School Psychologist; and Bonnie Altman, our High School Psychologist --  are always available to speak with children and/or parents about any concerns they may be experiencing. It is critical that our children know that we care about what they are watching and care about their reactions to troubling content.  And, as always, the most important thing we can all do is listen to our children, validate their concerns, talk with them about their feelings, and communicate our care, love, availability, and support. Whether or not a particular television series is capturing our attention, our goal should always be to listen supportively to our children at school and at home.


We are available to discuss any of these matters further and we are, as always, grateful for your partnership.


With thanks for your support,


Ariela, Lori, and Noam


 

 


THE ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL SCHOOL
RONALD P. STANTON CAMPUS

Early Childhood Center • Henry Lindenbaum Lower School • Alan B. Slifka Middle School
30 West End Avenue, NYC 10023 • 212 784-1234
High School • 20 West End Avenue, NYC 10023 • 212 246-7717
www.heschel.org

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