13 REASONS WHY – SHOULD SCHOOLS BAN IT? OR MAKE IT MANDATORY? (MF GALAXY 122)
CONTROVERSIAL HIT NETFLIX SERIES EXPLORES BULLYING, STALKING, SLUT-SHAMING, SEXUAL ASSAULT + TEEN SUICIDE, NOW FACING BACKLASH FROM ELITE MEDIA + PEARL-CLUTCHING ADULTS EVERYWHERE
Today on the show we’re talking about 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix series based on the Jay Asher novel. My guests are librarian Ashley Cain and policy manager Jinting Zhao, both of whom attended the high school where I taught for most of my teaching career, and where Cain was one of my English students.
I asked them to come onto MF GALAXY because they each posted insightful and powerful remarks following a Facebook thread I started discussing the series and asking about its accuracy.
In Edmonton, a school principal banned out-of-class discussion of the series. In the following show you’ll hear me incorrectly say to Jinting Zhao that the school was a junior high, but Ashley Cain correctly noted that it was an elementary school. The school emailed to parents to state its ban, but failed to encourage parents to discuss the series’ issues with their children. However, according to an online CBC news report, many schools across North America did just that. Other sources including The New Yorker magazine have attacked the series, leading series star Katherine Langford to defend it.
In today’s MF GALAXY, Zhao and Cain discuss:
- The ethics of how the series depicts sexual assault and suicide, and whether such depictions encourage those actions
- The accuracy or inaccuracy of the series and how its events relate to their own harrowing experiences of junior and senior high school
- How social media harassment can traumatise teens in ways that are totally foreign to their parents’ experiences
- Why many teens don’t know where sexual boundaries should exist to keep them safe socially and physically, and to prevent them from ruining the lives of their peers
- The responsibilities of peers, teachers, and parents to young people to prevent the worst of what the series dramatises, and how some authorities inadvertently escalate the crises some teens are facing
- How some young people can escape social persecution that could destroy them, and
- Whether teachers and parents should be watching the series with their teens—and what questions they should ask afterward, and how.
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