South Florida schools heed warning about controversial Netflix series

'13 Reasons Why' chronicles aftermath of teen's suicide

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – South Florida schools are warning students and parents about a controversial Netflix series.

The popular series, "13 Reasons Why," has Miami-Dade County Public Schools sounding the alarm.

The show chronicles the aftermath of a teenager's suicide after she leaves voice recordings for those she deems responsible for her decision to take her own life.

"We know there are students, teenagers, who are vulnerable," Miami-Dade County school psychologist Frank Zenere said.

Zenere said the concern is a real one, and the graphic depiction of suicide in the series could have devastating effects on young people facing depression or other mental health issues.

Palm Beach County's superintendent said his school district has already seen a spike in students trying to harm themselves, and many have pointed to the show for giving them the idea.

"Sensationalized media, whether it be print of visual, are heavily influencing the actions of some vulnerable youth," Zenere said.

That message was expressed in a letter sent home this week to parents warning them about the series.

"I believe in free speech, but not in provoking things like suicide," parent Paul Siska said.

Parents who spoke Tuesday to Local 10 News said it's becoming harder and harder to keep children away from the wrong message.

"You're showing kids that they don't have to talk to an authority figure or another classmate about something that is going on, or whatever the problem could be," a parent, who was only identified as Christine, said.

Netflix is adding parental discretion notices, but said it believes the show is sparking dialogue.

Zenere said if young people are going to watch the series, they should do so with an adult who can talk to them about suicide.

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