The Galion City School District will welcome nationally renowned anti-bullying speaker Mr. John Halligan to share his family’s story with middle and high school students during the school day on April 7. Halligan will also be providing a parent presentation at 7 p.m. that same day in the Galion Middle School cafetorium that is open to the entire Galion community.
Halligan, and his wife Kelly 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.
“We are looking forward to Mr. Halligan’s visit with our students and staff members to share his family’s story,” Galion Middle School Principal Jennifer Allerding said. “We work every day with our students to make sure they understand that bullying is wrong and can have catastrophic consequences.”
In memory of his son, Halligan spearheaded the Vermont Bully Prevention bill which was signed into law (ACT117) in May 2004, 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.
“We are working diligently to do everything we can to prevent bullying in the Galion City School District,” Superintendent Jim Grubbs said. “But we need the students’ families help in monitoring their child’s social media accounts, text messages, instant messages, emails and all other forms of communication that can take place after the school day ends.
“Parents, guardians and caregivers, we encourage you to help us help the young people of Galion. Monitor your child’s online activities closely, and please don’t be afraid to contact the administrator or school counselor at your child’s school if you feel your child is being bullied outside school hours. We want to help.”
For more information about John Halligan and his family’s story, please visit www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org.