This trial going forward, it affects the whole town. We all have to think about it all over again, how Hannah lived, and how she died. And how it changed all our lives. You hurt, worse, you feel, powerless. And I know some people don't want us to talk about what happened. But if we don't talk about it, it's never going to change. So it's important for everyone to understand how it all happened, the whole story; you know. Cause things at Liberty are as bad as they've ever been. And I don't wanna be afraid anymore. I don't wanna be afraid.
— Tyler Down on Hannah Baker and Liberty High School during his testimony in Court[src]
Andrew and Olivia Baker vs The Evergreen County School District is the trial, in the second season, that started five months after Hannah Baker committed suicide.
The Bakers try to fight for Hannah by holding the school responsible for her suicide, with Dennis Vasquez as their lawyer. On the other side, Liberty High is represented by Sonya Struhl, a smart and ambitious litigator. Also on their side, Mrs. Bradley and students all try to vouch for the school not being held responsible. And on the Bakers' side, Mr. Porter and students also try to vouch for Hannah being let down and hold the school responsible. The trial lasts a few months, with the chosen people on both sides testifying, and finally, the Bakers' and the school get a decision from the jury. The second season unfolds with different narratives who illustrate Hannah's story from the testifiers' point of view, providing a diverse perspective of Hannah as well as other characters involved.
Overall 15 Characters (excluding Sarah Carlin) were called to testify for either the Bakers' or Liberty High.
Before the trial went ahead, Olivia Baker spent time-fighting to know why her daughter committed suicide while she grieved. She found her first piece of evidence: the hot or not list, a list of people labeled best or worst of something, mainly something on their body. The list contained girls only made by boys and Hannah was labelled best ass against Jessica, who was labelled worst ass, this was a contribution made by Alex Standall.
Olivia met with the principal to seek answers for some questions, that he, because of a lawsuit, could not legally answer. She went into the girls' restroom and cried. She then went into one of the cubicles and noticed words and names scribbled into the walls and took photographs on her iPhone as evidence, she then brought them into a school community meeting to show to the parents and the principal. This put the school into hot water. She later also found the paper that Hannah used to write down who led her to want to kill herself. Tony declined to help at first, but later gave her a USB filled with all of the audio from The Tapes. Olivia played out the names in front of her as she listened to the first tape with Andrew.
You hurt, worse, you feel, powerless. And I know some people don't want us to talk about what happened. But if we don't talk about it, it's never going to change. So it's important for everyone to understand how it all happened, the whole story; you know. Cause things at Liberty are as bad as they've ever been. And I don't wanna be afraid anymore. I don't wanna be afraid.
— Tyler about Hannah's story and Liberty High at his testimony[src]
Tyler: "People tell lies about you and other people believe them. And it gets to the point where...the lies might as well be the truth."
Dennis: "And did people tell lies about Hannah Baker?"
Tyler: "...Yes, they did. All the time... And, another girl I know [Jess]. She had something happen to her. She had to leave school for a while. While she was gone, the story got totally twisted."
― Tyler on the bullying of Students at Liberty High, Jessica's rape and the allegations that got twisted by Bryce about him sexually assaulting her[src]
When rumors spread, you can fight them or ignore them, but they never really go away. When you're the target, you do anything you can to protect yourself. Sometimes you hide. Sometimes you fight back. Anything you have to do. Because the thing is, in high school, everyone's watching you all the time. You have to be careful.
That the truth didn't matter. That's just what they do to girls at our school. I mean, I found these just this morning in my math class. They take one photo and it defines you. And then it becomes your job to prove everyone wrong. This is what they did to Hannah and now they are doing it to me.
— Jessica Davis, showing the court the pictures with "A Drunk Slut" written on them.[src]
I don't blame Hannah for anything. That's how it is for girls. People judge you by the way you look, the things they hear about you. They put a label on you. I just feel like boys get to define themselves. They get to choose their identity and they can hide behind it. Well, most boys. I think some know what it's like to be afraid. To feel like the world gave you a certain label that you have to live with for the rest of your life. Most boys don't know what it's like, but, every single girl does. So, we just start expecting them to put a label on us. And we just do it to ourselves.
My whole life, my father told me, people at school would judge me. People will assume they know who I am, just by looking at me. And that the deck is stacked against me. When you're faced with that, when you're without power, on the outside, you have tough choices.
It's easy to hide, to, give in to the pain. Like Hannah did, she started to believe that she was less than. To believe that a life of privilege and position, was only for other people. But the truth is, privilege is a trap all its own.
When you feel left out when you feel like this high school world is against you. It can be vulnerable and frightening. I wouldn't want anyone to feel that way. Which is why I signed up for Dollar Valentines, which is why I invited Hannah out.
Bryce and I have been friends since the third grade. And friendship, it can be this really powerful thing. And friendship is complicated. You find yourself doing things you never thought you'd do. Because friendship, you commit to it. No matter what. Being friends with him, it was about loyalty. But it was also about fear. The truth is Bryce was never my friend. Because he doesn't know what friendship is.
There should be some things more important than friendship. Things you just won't do for a friend. I held onto my friendship with Bryce because I didn't think I had anything else. I thought Bryce was all I had. The thing we're all most afraid of is losing our friends, is being all alone.
I don't know why that was more important to me than doing right by Hannah. Friendship, I guess. Being a man. Wanting him to think I was more than I was somehow. Maybe Bryce sent it around because he was jealous. Or maybe because he's just cruel. I don't know. I don't know why people send around photos like that.
— Justin Foley about showing the photo he took of Hannah to Bryce[src]
Dennis: "Did you think of calling the police or calling for help?"
Justin: "I did. But I was afraid."
Dennis: "Afraid of what?"
Justin: "I don't know. Afraid of losing my best friend. My girlfriend. My entire life. Which I guess I already lost. I'll regret this forever."
― Dennis and Justin about Jessica's rape
Sonya: "Mr. Foley, isn't it true that you never saw Bryce assault anyone?"
Justin: "No, that's not true."
Sonya: "Isn't it true that you concocted this rape story to save yourself from the embarrassment of what really happened? Your girlfriend cheated on you with your best friend."
Sonya: "And isn't it true that you left town rather than face the truth?"
Sonya: "You didn't leave town?"
Justin: "I mean, I left town, but it was not to avoid any-"
Sonya: "And wasn't the heroin also a way to avoid the truth? And aren't you lying now?"
Justin: "No! No, I'm telling the truth, I- He raped her. I'm telling the truth."
Dennis: "So no one addressed the anonymous author's obvious cry for help or asked you who wrote it?"
Ryan: "Nope. No one took it seriously. But then again, they rarely do."
― Ryan and Dennis
Nothing that's worth anything comes without pain. A work of art is only good if it arises from necessity, from need. And it can be political need or personal need or, ideally, both. Art should be confrontation. It should shock and scare you. And Hannah, she was an artist in need. And I think that's what happened. And she freaked people out.
A soul in need needs a way to express it. Silence is never the answer. But when there's so much going on inside you. Society expects us to stay silent. And it's a dangerous thing when there's so much going on inside you, but no one to share it with.
I was trying to be Hannah's friend. I needed a friend as much as she did. What she needed most was love. Human connection. Hannah was desperate for human connection, and I betrayed her. I guess I left her even more lonely than she was before. And I guess I know how she feels. When the diction starts. And it breaks my heart. What Hannah needed was a friend, and I wasn't that.
Do you wanna know why Hannah wrote these poems? She was reaching out. She was desperate to be heard, to connect. And people took that lifeline and they twisted it. They took her own story away from her. And she fought to get it back. But in the end, the story they told was so loud that it's all that she could hear and she started to believe it and forgot who she was. It's easy to let that happen, to lose yourself. To believe that no one could ever know you, or love you. And that you're the only person that knows what you're going through. And you convince yourself it's going to get better. And then, it doesn't.
Ryan: "I can't pretend to know what goes on in someone else's head. It's poetry. Most of the poets in our group write about dark and messed-up things."
Sonya: "So you had no idea that Hannah was crying out for help in her work, or so the prosecution would have us believe, but you expect the school to draw that conclusion?"
Ryan: "It's their job, isn't it? I mean, I'm sorry, but I'm not a licensed therapist or a teacher."
― Ryan and Sonya
She wasn't happy. She was extremely upset and hurting. She wrote about Justin and other boys because she was lonely. It's not about them, it's about what they represented. What they did to her and what you're doing right now.
Hannah was so talented, but she didn't know it. It was just a dream. She wrote out of love, out of need. I couldn't see And I wanted to show her that the rush of people loving your work is just as good as love.
Hannah had nothing to be ashamed of. I made her feel like she did. Because I don't tell people things like I said. Hannah didn't tell me how she felt either. But now I guess I know. And I'll be ashamed for the rest of my life. And shame burns.
So there's a limit to what we can do to protect them. And there are some things you just can't protect them from. I couldn't be there every time someone judged her or shamed her. I didn't always have the answers. I didn't always know all the right things to say. After everything that happened at Liberty High... Well, I think it was just too much for Hannah. After all that, it was just too much.
Sonya: "Mrs. Baker, you say that you didn't notice whether Hannah was in distress. But is there anything in your family history to suggest that Hannah may have had a predisposition to any mental health problems?"
Olivia: "There have been some issues with anxiety on my side of the family, but nothing serious, and Hannah never showed any signs."
Sonya: "And were any of these issues ever serious enough to require treatment?"
Olivia: "Well, yes, I've seen a therapist on and off over the years during stressful periods."
Sonya: "So you've received treatment from a mental health care professional, but you never thought that your daughter might require similar care?"
Olivia: "She was just a child and, again, she never showed any signs."
Sonya: "Did you or did you not take Hannah to see a therapist, Mrs. Baker?"
Seeing Hannah like that, it was surreal. The only thing that can bring a grown man to his knees. I felt privileged. Privileged that this fragile, little thing would trust me before she knew to trust anything else. And that I'd get to spend the rest of my life getting to know her.
— Andrew Baker about Hannah when she was born[src]
They said they had a zero-tolerance policy, that they took that kind of thing extremely seriously, and that she was in good hands. But then they just stood back and let everything happen. If the school had just stepped up and paid attention, then things never would've gone as bad as they did for her. And she'd still be that same happy, hopeful kid she always was.
— Andrew Baker about what the school had told him about how they handled bullying[src]
I've always been rough around the edges. Or at least that's what people think. Maybe it's what I want them to think. But Hannah, she saw right through all that. She was the kind of friend who challenged me, whether I liked it or not.
I sometimes let my anger get the best of me. Or if I don't, it eats me up inside. When we act out of anger or fear, we can hurt people we don't mean to hurt. Even when you try to do the right thing it can get you into trouble.
I can't explain how she was feeling or what exactly she was trying to say. But even if I can't say how she was feeling, I can still tell you the kind of person she was. I can tell you she was brave, and loyal and always tried to do the right thing, even when it wasn't easy. I try to do right by my friends, to be strong. To be true like Hannah. But sometimes a friendship can't take the truth. So I promised myself that the next time things get tough for me, the next time I find myself struggling or being tested I'm gonna think about the example she set for me and hope that I can find the strength to do the right thing.
My name is Kevin Porter. I'm a guidance counselor at Liberty High School. I would say I help as many kids as I can. That's why I got into education. But I don't get to see every kid. I try to keep an eye out, but you have to count on kids to come to you. And not every kid who does come to you is able to ask for the help they need. Not every kid tells you the whole truth.
Sonya: "Therefore, you did everything that was required of you, and the truth is there was nothing more you could have done. Would you agree?"
Sonya: "Let me rephrase that question"
Kevin: "I said, no. I could have done more. I could have stopped her from walking out that door."
Sonya: "Nothing further, Your Honor."
Kevin: "She didn't just leave. I let her go."
― Kevin and Sonya about if he could have done more to help Hannah
I was just trying to do the... the right thing. I was following protocol. The protocol probably needs to change. But more importantly, Kevin Porter needs to change. Mrs. Baker, I didn't mean to let your daughter down. I'm sorry.
Some kids can't speak their truth. Some won't. To us, to their families. And some kids have secrets they believe they have to keep for their own survival. And we may think we know what they're going through, but each kid goes through it in their own way. They think that what's hurting can never be healed. So they don't tell us. They hide, they deflect. They try to become the person they think we want to see. They think that what's hurting can never be healed. So they don't tell us. They hide, they deflect. They try to become the person they think we want to see. When kids feel powerless, when they feel they have no avenue for understanding, they act out.
Hannah and I, we failed each other. If we had only tried harder, each of us, to reach out, to understand, to trust each other, to let ourselves help and be helped, it would have made all the difference. I can't go back and fix my mistake. I can't change the past. We have to trust each other. We have to ask for help.