In response to the recent suicide deaths of seven students, a school district in Colorado told librarians to temporarily take the book that served as inspiration for the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" off its shelves, The Denver Post reported.
The decision has led to some librarians claming censorship, while critics say the book romanticizes suicide, igniting a debate over the merits of balancing the freedom of speech with concerns about student safety. The book has since been put back on shelves.
“It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things,” said Leigh Grasso.
Grasso is the curriculum director for Mesa County Valley School District -- which has 22,000 students -- and is the person who decided to pull the book.
Grasso has not read the book or watched the series, but cited media attention and recent events as reason enough to pull the book in her email to the librarians.
Of the 20 copies of the book available in the school district, 19 were checked out at the time the decision came down, meaning they were unaffected by the order.
The book was made available again after it was determined that it did not contain any scenes as graphic as those depicted in the online series.
Schools sending out stuff about 13 Reasons Why, but when there were actually suicides in our school they did nothing— Jordy (@joordanne_) May 9, 2017
Some are confused by U.S. schools' sudden motivation to address suicide.
So many schools banning discussion about 13 Reasons Why. They're missing such a great opp to talk to teens about something important.— Sherry Osborne (@busyzenlife) May 16, 2017
Others are lamenting the loss of an opportunity to discuss such serious issues.