Valhalla Schools To Host 'Ryan's Story' Anti-Bullying Program

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John Halligan's son Ryan was the victim of bullying in his Vermont school.
John Halligan's son Ryan was the victim of bullying in his Vermont school. Photo Credit: John Hlligan
Ryan Halligan committed suicide in  2003.
Ryan Halligan committed suicide in 2003. Photo Credit: John Halligan

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- John Halligan, whose 13-year-old son Ryan committed suicide in 2003 as a result of bullying, will share his story at Valhalla High School on Monday, March 10, at 7 p.m.

"Ryan's Story" is a special event for parents where Halligan will discuss bullying, cyber-bullying and youth depression that led to his son's death.

Valhalla Middle School Assistant Principal Kevin McLeod said the event was part of the school's ongoing effort yo educate students, parents and the community on the impact of bullying.

"The goal is to educate students, parents and the Valhalla community by bringing awareness and starting a dialogue on the very important topic of bullying and teen suicide," he said.       

Halligan, who has become an advocate for anti-bullying laws to be passed in his home state of Vermont, has established a website presentation with helps for parents.

McLeod said the district hopes to provide parents with several helps in how to deal with a growing problem of teen depression and bullying that include:

• Greater insight into some of the signs and symptoms of a child that is being bullied.
• Understanding that bullying does not only happen at school - with social media bullying is more pervasive, can occur at anytime and all the time.
• Strategies to approach the topic of bullying. A child who is being bullied may feel ashamed and may not admit that this is going on. 
• Open lines of communication.     

"The school hopes that the assembly inspire students to examine the way they treat others, be vocal and to make a difference -- do not be a bystander, if you see something, say something," McLeod said.

For more on "Ryan's Story" and how it has been received by young people, check out this recent youtube video.

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