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'13 Reasons Why' Gets Second Season

The Question Is - Why?

When Jay Asher wrote 13 Reasons Why and saw it published in 2007, odds are good he did not anticipate that it would develop into this controversial, but huge, hit for Netflix.  He probably didn't expect that music - and Disney - star Selena Gomez would want to executive produce such a series.  For those who have neither read the book nor watched the riveting program, here's a bit of a news flash; the book is set up in such a way that a sequel would simply not work.  While I have not watched the series myself, it is my understanding that the series ends with a fairly explicit scene in which a student is shown seriously contemplating a school shooting.

Why do networks always need more?  13 Reasons Why has sparked several extremely important conversations regarding suicide, and it's also gotten kids talking.  For years, parents and teachers have been encouraging kids to open up and talk about their mental health problems, and now, 13 Reasons Why, as a series, has finally brought those conversations into the open in a way that the book had not yet done to that scale.  In many ways, the series has allowed kids - as well as some adults - take a hard look at what's happening in some of the dark corners of those whose lives intersect with ours and realize that it is possible to openly discuss suicide, while Hannah does not until it's too late.  That said, it's Hannah's tapes that allow us as readers and viewers to realize that it's really too easy to miss signs of suicide that people are putting out; one need only look at Clay to realize that there were several signals that Hannah had put out to him that things were not going well, though Clay didn't realize it until it was far too late.

While school shootings and their aftermath are incredibly sensitive and traumatic experiences to explore, in much the same way as the potential motivations for someone to decide to suicide are, adding a second season to 13 Reasons Why in many ways diminishes the messages put out by the source document - the book.  In addition, it's important to acknowledge that two resources have been referenced on the website for the book:  www.bethe1to.com and 13reasonswhy.info.  While there are a number of sources one can reference about helping someone in the aftermath of a school shooting, a second season of 13 Reasons Why which focuses on a school shooting will no doubt garner greater concern of potential triggers for a school shooting or a desire by someone who is troubled to perpetrate a shooting.  Certainly, such concerns have erupted as a result of the justifiably graphic nature of the first season of 13 Reasons Why; it's not far of a stretch to think that a second season which focuses on a school shooting would be even more problematic than the season about a student's suicide and the reason behind it.

13 Reasons Why has broken through the taboo of not discussing suicide and shown students and adults alike a world that so many students live daily.  While a season that revolves around a student contemplating a school shooting would also give insight into the mind of a clearly-traumatized student - and soon to be traumatized student body - there would be a great deal that gets diminished from the first season of 13 Reasons Why.  There needs to be greater consideration given for the messages that 13 Reasons Why has put out and whether or not a second season might harm the good that the series has done to date.  While it is a traumatic, moving portrayal of what many teens have gone through in their daily lives, do we want to potentially take away from that power by "upping the ante" by conveying a school shooting?

Selena Gomez' Message

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