Speech on the impact of harassment and bullying
September 11, 2019
Dear St. Albans City School Families:
On Tuesday, September 17th at 11:30am in the gymnasium, our 7th and 8th-grade students will have the opportunity to hear John Halligan, international speaker and author, address the impact of bullying and harassment in schools. His presentation connects with the work of our teachers and school counselors to support the social and emotional health and wellbeing of our students.
Mr. Halligan will relay his own tragic experience as a father whose 13-year-old son died by suicide in 2003 after bullying by peers since the 5th grade, both in school and online. Mr. Halligan will share factors that contributed to Ryan’s vulnerability and ultimate suicide, including his underlying mental health issues and depression. His story is riveting and compelling, reminding students that there is a face- a person, a heart- on the other end of the screen. His presentation will begin with a short video collection of home movie clips and still pictures of Ryan. John will then tell the story of Ryan’s life and the factors that led to his son’s suicide. The students will gain a perspective from inside the family of a child who is a victim of bullying and cyberbullying. In the wrap-up session, they will receive life-changing lessons about forgiveness, suicide prevention, the role of bystanders, and a challenge to apologize to someone. We encourage you to visit the following website, named for his son, for more information: www.RyansStory.org.
Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, we wanted to inform you of the presentation in advance. We encourage you to ask your child about the presentation and discuss it together. If, for any reason, you would prefer that your child not attend this presentation, please send a written note to your child’s teacher. We will provide an alternative space, with adult support and supervision, in lieu of the presentation. Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact one of our school counselors at 527-0565, ext. 3874 (Jamilah Vogel, Kristen Hersey, or Allison Goldsmith).