Anti-Bullying Message Leaves Lasting Impression

In an effort to raise awareness about the devastating effects of bullying and cyberbullying, Copiague Middle School held an assembly for all students on Oct. 11. “Ryan’s Story,” as told by his father John Halligan, chronicled the life of a 13-year-old boy who endured years of bullying and cyberbullying by his peers and his eventual suicide.

“This is a powerful, educational program that will leave a lasting impression on how you treat each other,” said Middle School Principal Andrew Lagnado.

Starting with a slideshow of pictures to help students connect to a face, Mr. Halligan detailed the life of his son and the incessant bullying that occurred starting in fifth grade and the factors that led to his suicide. The program allowed students to gain an inside perspective from the family of a student who was victimized by bullying.

In the years since Ryan’s death, Mr. Halligan has been instrumental in passing anti-bullying laws including Vermont’s Bully Prevention Law and Vermont’s Suicide Prevention Law. Following the presentation, students had the opportunity for a question-and-answer session.