Students At This School Are Recording Their Own "13 Reasons Why Not" Tapes

5 May 2017, 13:18 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09

Hannah Baker image
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

This is so important.

Whether you're a fan of 13 Reasons Why or not, there is no getting around the fact that the show has started some real conversations. One of the biggest criticisms of the show is that, while it depicts a very real and pervasive bullying culture that takes place in schools, the show doesn't really talk about Hannah's other options. 

Michigan students at Oxford High School are creating their own real life "tapes" to offer "13 reasons not to end your life". The project, which will run for 13 days, will have students at the school recording "tapes" that talk about their own bullying experiences.

Instead of assigning blame, however, each tape will end with a dedication to a fellow student who helped them through their difficult time. 

The project was conceived in memory of a freshman student at the school named Megan Abbot who tragically took her own life in 2013. This would have been Megan's graduation year. 

The school's dean, Pam Fine, says she enjoyed watching 13 Reasons Why but found it troubling that "suicide was portrayed as being, almost, inevitable, like she had no other option." This troubling fact led her to concoct the secret project to start a dialogue at her own school. 

One girl who shared her story on the school's tapes tweeted that she chose to participate in the project because she has been affected by mental illness for 7 years and wanted to do her part in raising awareness. Since this student shared her own story, she has received messages of support from classmates inspired by the positive message she helped spread. 

While many school's have resorted to spreading fear about the show, this school decided to turn 13 Reasons Why into an actual conversation and let students know that there are options other than ending it. 

It is fair that Netflix have amended the trigger warnings for the show, but shying away from difficult topics doesn't make them go away. Kudos to the school's dean and the teens who are bravely sharing their stories. 

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