“Even if you are best friends, you do not know what going on inside their house,” 12th grade guidance counselor Theresa Sullivan said.
On November 30, all Broward County public schools are showing the controversial film “Listen” in order to raise awareness about the importance of being attentive to others and identifying when someone is critically depressed or suicidal.
The decision to play this movie for all highschoolers was made after Broward County was plagued by a plethora of suicides during the 2016-2017 school year.
“The county wanted to give the schools something to work with,” Sullivan said.
The movie is accompanied by a two hour discussion with the director on how to be an active listener. This includes being able to carefully listen to one’s word, interpret their body language, evaluate their tone of voice and so on. This period of learning about how to better take care of peers aims to rectify the lack of attention given to the struggling students within the movie.
“I really admire the message that the movie is trying to teach everyone who sees it,” senior Bruce Glasserman said. “The fact that the movie is providing a critical understanding and awareness in regards to mental health issues is further admirable in and of itself.”
Mental health is a topic that has been gaining traction in the media lately with the publicity of Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation, which focuses on projects to promote mental health, and the popular Netflix show, “13 Reasons Why,” that depicted the plight of a suicidal teen.
“I have heard a lot about the movie,” senior Talia Slann said. “I think everyone is very interested in seeing it.”
Some students are also anticipating their own response to the movie as administrator have warned about its intensity.
“Since the school is making a big deal about it, I am excited to see how I will react to the movie,” junior Hannah Ferguson said.
Others were infatuated with the purpose of the movie and agree with some of the themes within the movie.
“I think it is really important for teenagers to know that they can depend on the adults in their life,” senior Joanna Wu said.
As for the teachers of CCHS, they saw the movie in the summer before the school year began. Although not all teachers believed it to be appropriate, others thought the film was necessary to convey vital lessons.
“It is important for teachers to not just care about the tests, but also the person who takes them,” psychology and sociology teacher Steve Franzone said.
Another CCHS teacher, math teacher Michelle Harding, agrees and has personally acted with this notion in mind.
“Being a teacher for 25 years, whenever I notice a student struggling academically, I help, or when I realized that they are struggling personally, I always help or find help through the school resources,” Harding said.
The day before the screening in schools, the district is showing the movie to parents so that they can decide whether viewing the movie is something that their child should do.
As for those whose parents chose to let them see the film, the guidance department will be available during the viewing as well as before and after for anyone that is overwhelmed or emotional response to the movie.
Photo courtesy of the Listen Facebook page