There’s been a lot of discussion and controversy concerning the Netflix original series, Th1rteen R3asons Why (originally a book by the title, 13 Reasons Why). The fictional story takes place in the wake of a teenage girl’s suicide, and its premise focuses on the tape recordings she left for those whom she claimed caused her to end her life.
Many of the current conversations focus on whether or not the series controversially sensationalizes teenage suicide, and I want to be clear that is it not my intent to engage in that debate. Rather, I believe that the conversations about 13 Reasons Why provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the rising trend of teenage suicide. Last year, suicide became the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States.
I serve as a manager for the Safety Management Team at Gaggle, and everyday we see heartbreaking instances of students who are considering suicide, as early as elementary school. As someone who sees this on a daily basis, and as a parent, this subject is especially sensitive for me. This year we have uncovered more intentions and actual attempts of student suicide than ever before.
Unlike Hannah (the female lead of the series) of 13 Reasons Why, we’ve learned that many of the students who intend to commit suicide don’t share their plans with others, even their closest friends. Often, the incidents discovered by our Safety Representatives are found in Drive files (in either Google Drive or OneDrive) or email messages scheduled for later delivery.
I have more than 13 reasons why schools and districts need Gaggle. In fact, I have over 200—there are 207 students (and counting), just this school year, who would not be alive today if we weren’t partnering with schools and districts to keep them safe. In addition to students who were taking steps to end their lives, there are thousands of others that schools (with our assistance) have been able to help before their situations escalated to a dangerous point.
That’s the story we all should be talking about: Getting students the help they need and celebrating the lives saved.
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