John and Kelly Halligan lost their thirteen year old son, Ryan, to suicide on October 7, 2003. At the time of his death, Ryan was a student at a middle school in Essex Junction, Vermont. It was revealed in much greater detail after Ryan’s death that he was ridiculed and humiliated by peers at school and on-line.
Vermont Bully Prevention bill which was signed into law (ACT117) in May 2004 and only a few months after Ryan’s death . He also successfully led the passage of the law pertaining to mandatory suicide prevention education in public schools (ACT 114) in April 2006.
John has been outspoken about the need for more education and prevention of bullying, cyber bullying and teen suicide throughout the United States and Canada. His son’s story and his accomplishments in response to this tragedy have been told world-wide by print, radio and TV including:
His student presentation begins with video of home movie clips and pictures of Ryan as a very powerful way of introducing his son. John then begins to tell the story of Ryan’s life and the factors that led up to his son’s suicide. The audience gains a unique perspective from inside a family of a child who is a victim of bullying and cyber bullying. They also gain a deeper understanding of the devastating impact of a teen suicide on a family. There are many powerful life lessons imparted, including forgiveness and finding ways to turn a tragedy into hope for others.
For his work in Ryan's memory, he has received community services awards from United Way of Vermont, Children Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) of New York, Kids Safe Collaborative of Vermont, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Vermont and the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award. (Pictured here with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III).
The parent's event will take place on January 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Mansfield High School auditorium while student presentations for sixth and seventh graders will be shown on January 29 at Qualters Middle School.
For more information: http://www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org/index.htm