Anonymous Alerts 13 Reasons Why 2nd Season

The second entry of this blog is to make you aware, that Netflix has released the second season of the controversial series, 13 Reasons Why.  Similar to the launch of the first season, concerns about the extreme graphical nature of the themes and issues presented in the series, such as: dating violence, suicidal thoughts, bullying, substance abuse, and more, have experienced divisive discussion in the press.  Many of these issues are adult-related and severe in nature.  Some argue that exposure to these narrative situations can cause a significant impact on children due to the portrayal of how mental health and mental illness are illustrated in the show.

How national organizations and parents are stepping in

Because of the continued presence of difficult themes in the show’s narrative, organizations, such as the National Association of School Psychologists (link provided below), have released “guidelines” and strong recommendations for parents and guardians in relation to the new episodes:

  • The dramatic and graphic portrayal of difficult issues such as sexual harassment and suicide has the potential to put young people at risk for emotional distress or harmful behavior
  • Vulnerable children and youth should not watch the series
  • Those struggling with suicidal behavior and depression should not watch it alone
  • Parents/guardians should watch it with their child and discuss the issues when necessary
    • NASP provides a toolkit of resources for parents to utilize for these discussions

How schools can get involved

Parents/guardians are not alone in this action.  There are initiatives that schools can implement that can help students who are struggling with these challenges:

  • A solid and organized support system with school staff that students have easy access to
    • Give students plenty of channels and opportunities to communicate their concerns
    • Involve parents and the community as a resource to provide enhanced information to school officials
    • Empower students to use their voice by creating a safe place where they can express themselves openly, but remain anonymous
      • Students avoid fear of retribution by peers
      • Allows school personnel to take immediate action on concerns they never would have known had a private communication outlet not been in place
      • Readily available resources related to sensitive topics
      • Conducting events and forums for the school community to discuss the show’s content
        • Guest speakers give presentations about their experience
        • Discuss what you think is similar to what you’ve seen or experienced in your own life and what might be amplified for dramatic emphasis.1
        • Think about what might be missing that is typical in the real world, but not portrayed in the series.1

How Anonymous Alerts can help  

Open discussion of these issues is a great initiative that can lead to productive communication between all members of the district community.  However, there are some students who feel uncomfortable with the platform of face-to-face communication.  Providing these students with an alternative tool that allows for open dialogue in a private, anonymous setting creates a sense of freedom where they can express themselves and not feel vulnerable.

With the help of the Anonymous Alerts mobile application, students are provided with a tool they can use when they feel in distress.  It empowers students to speak up about sensitive issues without fear of retribution by maintaining a safe environment with 100% anonymous 2-way communications between themselves and school officials.  Having a safety app like this in place will allow students to feel like they have someone to turn to at all times, especially when they find themselves or others in difficult situations.

The months ahead

As we embrace summer vacation and look forward to the upcoming school year, this series may have an impact on your student body when schools re-open.  It is important to know that there are a multitude of communication tools out there for students to use their voice to report concerns such as strange behavior, bullying, or social/emotional withdrawal to school officials.  The ability for students to privately express themselves, whether it’s on the Anonymous Alerts mobile app or speaking directly to school counselors and psychologists, is critical in maintaining a safe school climate.

Click here for the NASP press release for guidance regarding 13 Reasons Why, Season 2

Happy Summer!

T. Gregory Bender
Anonymous Alerts®

Copyright © 2018 T. Gregory Bender. All rights reserved.

113 Reasons Why – Discussion Guide

13 reasons why anonymous alerts can help

This blog is regarding the controversial Netflix® original series 13 Reasons Why and ways that Anonymous Alerts® can help your schools address the issues highlighted in the show.

Within the series, the main character Hannah faces numerous hardships that many students of all ages face. These hardships, along with the lack of help or someone to talk to, are the reasons why she took her own life. Whether school faculty and staff know about it or not, many students are going through similar situations depicted in the show as outlined below:

  • Bullying/Cyberbullying
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Addiction
  • Peer Pressure
  • Feelings of loneliness/neglect

Some have claimed that the series depicts suicide as a glamorized option when one is faced with difficult situations. Suicide should never be glamorized because it is not a solution.  The show does properly depict that it can be hard for students to openly talk to someone about what they are going through. Students feel vulnerable and lost when they have no one to talk to. It is important for schools to play an active role in making sure students have healthy ways to handle difficult situations, and making them aware of how they can help one another through difficult times.

Below are some suggestions for school faculty and staff to discuss with their students:

  • Never be a bystander. If they see something, say something. It could save a classmate’s life.
  • Always tell the truth, you never know how a “lie” or “rumor” can affect someone.
  • Suicide is never an option for anyone, help is always available. Don’t be afraid to seek it.
  • Always make sure students are aware of suicidal signs. They maybe able to spot them more easily than faculty and staff. Students should be encouraged to speak up if they see or hear a student is in trouble.

It is important that students are made aware of the various healthy options they have available to them, both in school and out of school.

The Anonymous Alerts® mobile application can empower students with its anonymous reporting, helpful resources, and on demand video training. When students see something, it will be easier for them to say something with the ability to remain 100% anonymous. The app’s help and resources section can educate and provide helpful information to students in the form of web content, websites, custom videos, YouTube videos and more.

Here are some suggested uses of Anonymous Alerts®:

Anonymous Reporting

  • A student in distress can establish 100% anonymous 2-way communications with a trusted adult, or with school staff about a similar situation depicted in the series.
  • Friends of a student can also be encouraged to speak up with anonymous reporting if they see their friend in need of help.
  • Students should be encouraged to notify a trusted adult if they have any knowledge of occurrences similar to those illustrated in the series.
  • If the school as a whole goes through a tragic event, administrators have the power to send goodwill messages to each student through the app for those whom have opted in.

Anonymous Alerts – Help and Resources

  • Our customizableHelp and Resourcessection of the mobile app is a place for school officials to provide students with helpful materials
  • Materials can included a variety of sensitive topics such as mental health, bullying, self-harm, and more.
  • School officials can customize this section in ways they think best fits their school community.

Some suggested videos that may help a child in need:

Some suggested website resources that may help a child in need:

Feel free to visit our website at or call us at 914-220-8326 or (888)291-2090 to learn more and schedule a demo.

We hope you have a safe and healthy end of the school year!

By T. Gregory Bender
Anonymous Alerts®

Copyright © 2017 T. Gregory Bender. All rights reserved.

Averting a campus crisis with anonymous communications

Thanks to the use of handheld smart phones and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we can all share and distribute information quickly. Events like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and the recent deadly shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College, underscore how important it is to get information about a potential tragedy before it happens. Gun violence in or around schools has become a national debate concerning school and student safety and the need to revise school safety plans and guns laws are not enough.

Anonymous communications can help to avert a tragedy

The U.S. Department of Education and Secret Service states that for over 81 percent of violent acts or planned events that occur, someone knew about it ahead of time. From most accounts bullying, cyberbullying and/or student depression issues continue to be drivers in school shootings or violent events on and off campus. Anonymous alerts or anonymous communications by students to school officials can be a helpful deterrent to stopping a violent campus event before it happens. It is alleged that prior to the Oregon College shooting various posts were made to social media by the shooter in the days leading up to the campus shooting.

Bullying and student depression

Over 160,000 students stay home every school day due to bullying, according to the National Association of School Psychologists. Student depression among teens and college students is believed to be the leading cause of self-harm and suicide, limiting academic performance and attendance in the classroom. More than ever, young K-12 students and college students have more to contend and deal with in a fast paced social media driven world.

Students are the best source

Students are always monitoring their social media posts and reading what other students post, they can play a significant role by placing anonymous or non-anonymous reports directly to school officials about something they see or hear. School security options today are typically around what happens during or after a crisis. School security cameras catch bullying, harassment, vandalism, theft, security risks as they are happening. Students can be an early warning system for school officials by using their mobile devices to capture social media posts that concern them and send them to school officials.

By T. Gregory Bender
Anonymous Alerts®

Copyright © 2015 T. Gregory Bender. All rights reserved.