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13 Reasons Why Not

May 29, 2017

A group of Michigan high school seniors, alarmed by the message being sent by the popular Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, decided to do something about it. They recorded their own painful stories of being bullied, abused, and told they’d be better off dead, in the the style of 13 Reasons. But in each recording, instead of blaming someone for their suicidal feelings, as Hannah did, they singled out someone who was kind to them, and made them feel understood.

Without warning to their fellow students, they arranged to have their recordings played over the loudspeaker at their school — one in homeroom every morning during the month of May.

It was an inspired way to counter the show’s unfortunate message that the only way out of hopelessness — and the best way to get revenge on your tormentors — is suicide. No one could do it better than the students themselves. They had the courage to demonstrate that while the halls of your average high school can at times be brutal, they also contain warmth and empathy.

We’re touched by their bravery in being open about their own painful struggles, countering the pressure to pretend that your life is perfect.

“I think it sets a message that we have to start treating each other better,” Riley Juntti, who was the first to share her story, told the Washington Post. “If you have a problem, it’s okay to struggle with something and it’s okay to come forward with it.”

Tagged with: Self-Advocacy