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School district pulls book ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’

DENVER — As a Colorado community mourns the loss of seven students who recently killed themselves, a school district official ordered librarians to temporarily stop circulating a book that’s the basis for Netflix’s popular new series “13 Reasons Why,” which some critics say romanticizes suicide.

The order rankled some librarians who called it censorship, and it appears to be a rare instance in which the book has been removed from circulation — albeit briefly.

It also has highlighted the debate about balancing freedom of speech with concerns about students.

“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, the curriculum director for the 22,000-student Mesa County Valley School District who decided to pull the book.

The bestselling young adult novel, published in 2007, follows a high school girl who kills herself after creating a series of tapes for her classmates to play after her death. She gave the tapes to people who influenced her decision.