“13 Reasons Why” is causing controversy in Canada after some schools have started warning parents about the graphic nature of the young adult adaptation, despite the show’s positive messages regarding bullying and suicide prevention.
After debuting on the streaming service on March 31, executive producer Selena Gomez’s hit series has become the subject of dispute at multiple Canadian school systems in less than a month. According to the CBC, St. Vincent Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta, sent an email to the parents of sixth graders letting them know their students were prohibited from even mentioning the show on school grounds.
“The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling. This series is rated Mature and the theme is the suicide of a high school student. This show includes graphic violence (rape) and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes,” read the letter. “The purpose of this email is to provide you with this information. Please let your child know that discussion of ’13 Reasons Why’ is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter.”
The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board took things a step further, claiming on their official website that the show was guilty of the “glamorization of suicidal behavior and [depicting] negative portrayals of helping professionals.”
But it’s not just individual school systems banning the tough subject material from its kids. School Mental Health Assist — an organization meant to aid school boards in Ontario — actually sent a memo urging teachers not to broadcast the Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford drama as educational material.
“Use of the Netflix series, ’13 Reasons Why,’ as a teaching tool is not recommended. The material is graphic and potentially triggering for vulnerable young people,” read the message.
However, not every school is immediately barring conversation on the controversial collection of episodes. The Community Suicide Prevention Network of Ottawa updated its website on Wednesday, offering parents suggestions on how to successfully discuss the intense themes of the show with their children, including, “What could you do differently if you were Hannah and the rest of the cast?”
While parents, teachers, and administrators may be taking issue with the TV adaptation of the YA novel, “13” remains the year’s most popular show on Twitter. All 13 episodes of “13 Reasons Why” and the “Beyond the Reasons” special are currently available to stream on Netflix.
Netflix didn’t immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.