The Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’ is all the rage right now. The show touches upon the act of teen suicide and has gained mixed reactions in regards to how the show deals with the issue.
In the show, a teenage girl commits suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes addressed to different people explaining how they played a role in her life and lead her to the decision of suicide.
After seeing the show, one principal found that the show was a gateway to discussion. However, she wondered why the show never touched upon the idea of ’13 reasons why not’. Even though there are dark times, there is still hope.
One senior at a Michigan high school, Riley Juntti, decided to give her take on the series and create her own ’13 reasons why not’ project.
Monday morning, students waited for the morning announcements to come on, expecting the same old jargon to play over the school PA system. However, that didn’t happen. Instead, a recording played. It was Riley Juntti.
“Worthless. Self-centered. No morals. Easy. Grimy. Cake face. You would be better off dead. That’s just the start of what you would label me as every day for two years,” Juntti said in her recording.
The tape was eerily similar to the tapes in the ’13 Reasons Why’ series, but the end of Riley’s tape changed everything.
Instead of naming her bullies, she thanked a different classmate. “This tape is for you Elise Godfrey. You saw me when no one else did and continued to listen, share, and appreciate the small things with me. Thank you for your kindness I can not repay. You are one of my 13 reasons why not.”
After the announcements, support rolled in via social media for the teen.
s/o to riley juntti for being brave enough to share such personal information with the entire school in hopes of helping even just 1 person
— glo (@GloBranch) May 1, 2017
riley juntti is my hero
— brooke viv🍁 (@brooke_viviano) May 1, 2017
The story has since gone viral, inspiring thousands to tweet their own messages using #13ReasonsWhyNot, and it’s easy to see why. Instead of polarizing the student body or issuing a warning about the show (like another Michigan high school did), they’re teaching the kids to start talking with one another. And to hopefully start listening, too.
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