Thirteen Reasons Why contains details of bullying and abuse that contribute to Hannah’s suicide and other harmful incidents throughout the story. Though fictional, these instances are very realistic and make excellent material for discussions on bullying prevention. Use storyboards to help students make connections between the book and the real world.
Using a T-Chart, ask students to look for ways that characters in the book enabled bullying and abuse. Students should depict and describe these examples in one column. In the other column, have students depict and explain how to turn each enabling situation into one that works to stop the bullying.
Actions that Enable Bullying
Actions that Combat Bullying
|Rumors and Gossip||Self-Control and Positive Words|
|From the beginning of Hannah's time at Crestmont High, rumors fly about her and Justin. This leads to her negative reputation and a host of other untrue rumors. Even people who are friendly to Hannah hear and pass on these rumors.||Do not engage in gossip and spreading rumors. Many rumors are untrue, but even if true they can be very harmful to a person's self-esteem. Stopping the rumor chain can be as simple as redirecting the conversation. It can also be helpful to say something positive about a person to help build them up rather than tear them down. Remember, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.|
|Pre-Judging Others||Get to Know Someone|
|Clay falls into the trap of judging Hannah based on the rumors he hears about her. His belief that she has a lot of sexual experience with boys makes him hesitate to befriend her. Had he befriended her earlier, she might not have felt so alone.||We should get to know someone before we draw conclusions about them. Sometimes you will find they are exactly like you thought they were, but other times you will be surprised by what you find. We are less likely to think of someone as different, odd, or worthless once we get to know them.|
|Watching Bullying or Assault without Intervening||Standing up for Those Being Hurt|
|When Marcus starts to molest Hannah in Rosie's diner, his actions are visible to most of the people in the diner. It is clear that he is making Hannah uncomfortable, yet no one in the diner does anything to intervene. Zach comes up and speaks to Hannah only after Marcus has left.||When someone is being hurt, you should do something to stop it. Sometimes this means stepping up and stopping the behavior yourself. Other times it means calling for help or reporting the incident to a trusted adult.|
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