Colorado School Bans "13 Reasons Why" While Mourning the Loss of 7 Students

A Colorado school district l has decided to remove copies of the book Thirteen Reasons Why from their libraries after seven students recently committed suicide.  The district asked librarians to remove the YA novel that follows Hannah Baker, a high school student who takes her own life after recording 13 reasons why she killer herself on a series of cassette tapes and left them for the people who influenced her decision. The book, which was published in 2007, was adapted to a television show a few months back. 

The show has been racked with controversy since its debut, with some critics saying it romanticizes suicide. "It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things," said Leigh Grasso, the curriculum director for the Mesa County Valley School District who decided to pull Thirteen Reasons Why.

 

Seventeen reports that the order to temporarily ban Thirteen Reasons Why has some of the school district's librarians upset. These librarians believe the banning of the novel is censorship and encroaches on the students' right to free speech. The issue definitely highlights a tricky line that school administrators must walk. They don't want to censor their students, but they're also reeling from the tragic suicides of 7 students. 

While some people may not believe a book or Netflix adaptation can so strongly influence a person to take their own life, it's actually possible. Suicide contagion is real affliction that is garnering more attention as time goes by. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suicide contagion is "the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one's family, one's peer group, or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors." Adolescents and young adults are most strongly affected by this phenomenon. 

 

Jay Asher, the author of Thirteen Reasons Why, wrote his bestselling novel after  a close relative attempted suicide as a teenager. He told Seventeen that he has "spoken at schools in all 50 states and tells students he would not be there if it weren't for teachers who were not afraid to talk about uncomfortable topics." and that "Over and over, readers describe Thirteen Reasons Why as the first time they felt understood. Recognizing that people will understand is the first step toward asking for help."

You can get help and information concerning depression and suicidal thoughts at 13reasonswhy.info

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