Dear Parents and Guardians,

You may be aware of the newly released Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which is based on the best-selling young adult novel by Jay Asher of the same name. The story centers on a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 recordings for the people whom she believes led her to her decision. In addition to suicide, the series depicts many serious issues such as depression, bullying and sexual assault.

In Shoreham-Wading River, we are particularly sensitive to many of these issues. This past year alone, we have increased our education of the whole child, focusing on how to collaborate with children and teens to develop safety plans that reduce the danger of high-risk behaviors. We have spent many hours promoting healthy coping strategies to stay safe, promote resilience and increase self-confidence.

Earlier this year, we compiled the activities and programs available to our students in relation to character education and social-emotional learning in a brochure, which also included some helpful health and safety community resources. Please see the attachment “SEL Brochure Final” to access those resources.

While the series is rated TV-MA (intended for mature audiences only), we are concerned with the number of our young students viewing the series. If your child has viewed the series, read the book or plans to do either, we recommend that you engage them in thoughtful conversation on the serious issues depicted. The National Association of School Psychologists has released guidance for educators and families on how to speak with children about “13 Reasons Why.” Please see the attachment labeled “13 Reasons Why Guidance_Final.”

Thank you for your attention to this very important topic. If you feel your child needs support or someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out to your building’s administrators.  

Sincerely,

Neil Lederer
Interim Superintendent of Schools