A Canadian school is attempting to ban all talk of 13 Reasons Why, reports CBC News. According to the site, principal Azza Ghali of St. Vincent Elementary School sent an email out to parents, asking them to tell their children not to discuss Netflix's controversial new series while at school, reportedly due to the show's "disturbing subject matter."
The Selena Gomez-produced series is about a high school student who dies by suicide and leaves behind tapes describing the 13 reasons for her choice. The show depicts a particularly graphic scene of suicide that some mental health organisations called out as "dangerous."
St. Vincent's is not the first school to be critical of the series. Michigan's Grand Blanc school district issued a warning about the show's material as well. According to Buzzfeed, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board in Ontario posted a message on their website stating that the series provided "glamorisation of suicide." Several other schools, in both the United States and Canada, have released similar messages, though St. Vincent's Ghali seems to be the first to call for a ban of all talk related to the series.
While I understand the reasons why some believe 13 Reasons Why could be triggering for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, I take issue with silencing all talk of the Netflix series. The show may not be perfect, but it does bring up some important topics that we simply aren't talking about enough. Hannah's suicide taken out of the conversation, 13 Reasons Why cracks open a discussion of bullying. While bullying does not directly cause suicide, the series dives into how important it is to treat one another with kindness. It stresses that we don't know what someone else is dealing with or what their mental state is, and that, yes: Sometimes those "little things" really do add up into enormous pain.
I understand why 13 Reasons Why is challenging material — and I am not saying that everyone should watch it or that it's in any way an authority on mental health or suicide. However, in the midst of the criticism, I think it's important to note where 13 Reasons Why goes right — and that's with starting a dialogue about the topics we simply don't talk about enough.