A Canadian parent has accused a secondary school of traumatizing their child after showing a true crime documentary on Netflix, CTV News reports.
The unidentified parent sent a letter to the Surrey school district, alleging that their child — a student at Elgin Park Secondary School — came home crying "to the point of being hysterical and vomiting" after watching "Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer" just before Christmas break. The three-part series focuses on the manhunt for convicted murderer Luka Magnotta.
The letter, which was addressed to Surrey Schools Superintendent Dr. Jordan Tinney, was sent Dec. 23, but the school's principal was only notified on Tuesday, CTV News notes. It is unclear what class or grade watched the film.
"No doubt many adults would be disgusted and horrified if they witnessed something so awful and so violent. But for children, the damage is incalculable," the parent's letter, which was obtained by the network, read.
District spokesperson Ritinder Matthews told CTV News that the principal is now investigating the incident.
Since its release on Dec. 18, "Don't F*ck With Cats" has been a hit among Netflix's audience. The series follows two online sleuths who recount how they spent months locating a person seen killing kittens in several YouTube videos. The first episode stops short of airing the clips in their entirety but does show images of the dead cats. The manhunt intensifies in the second episode, which shows bits of a video clip in which the suspect — later identified as Magnotta — ties his victim, Chinese international student Jun Lin, to a bed before murdering him.
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Although the series does not show the recorded homicide, the documentary goes into graphic detail when describing Lin's murder as seen in the clip — at one point, for example, the series mentions how Magnotta played around with Lin's decapitated head in a tub. CTV News could not confirm whether the students had watched the complete documentary.
Still, the parent's complaint to the Surrey school district noted that their child was "traumatized in the classroom …Those acts cannot be unseen or unknown."
In an interview with the network, child psychologist Alyson Jones said she found it unsurprising that the child was affected by the show but added the school wasn't necessarily wrong in showing the documentary.
"It's not that I think teenagers can't handle content, they certainly can, but there has to be something surrounding that content that gives it purpose and meaning," she told CTV News. "What is the educational value of this? Secondly, they should have a choice whether they want to or not. Thirdly, there should be support in place for people that feel upset or uncomfortable with what they've seen."