The May 5 edition of The Eagle Express, Prosper ISD’s newsletter, addressed concerns regarding a Netflix show called “13 Reasons Why.” The same edition also promoted the ISD’s Cybersafety Parent Night that was held on May 10 at Cockrell Elementary.
“The reason that we decided to make a statement regarding the show is that we partner with our parents to help keep our kids safe,” PISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Holly Ferguson said. “We noticed that our students were discussing the show. We feel it is important for parents to have conversations at home to help coach kids through the difficult topics. Because kids can now watch Netflix on their phone or computer in their room, we wanted to make sure that parents were aware of whether their student was watching it or not so that they could discuss it with them. In our statement, we provided links to articles by psychologists that help advise parents on how to handle this. There is also a tip sheet for parents and our school counselors are a resource. We knew that the kids were aware and wanted to make sure that parents were aware also. Safety is our number one priority.”
“13 Reasons Why” has sparked controversy across the nation due to the mental health concerns that have arisen within young adult viewers. The show is based on the novel by Jay Asher about a high school student who commits suicide. The character leaves a series of recordings to people they believe played a part in their suicide. Some professionals believe that the dark content may have negative effects on young viewers.
In addition to the mature content that is now easily accessible to students via Netflix, overall cyber safety is a priority among school staff, officials said. Ferguson explained why the ISD held the Cybersafety Parent Night.
“We want to provide parents with more information and continue to partner with them on safety,” Ferguson said. “Kids are getting phones sooner and we want parents to be aware of what to look for in order to keep them safe. We provided them with tips and tools such as how to use parental controls. This is a proactive event to help maintain safety. This year’s event had a wonderful turnout. In the past, it has only been three to five parents, whereas this year we got to speak to a packed room. It is awesome to see that kind of involvement and work together to get ahead.”