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.
In memory of his son, John spearheaded the 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.
Mr. Halligan has been outspoken about the need for more education and prevention of bullying, cyberbullying and teen suicide throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America. He and his wife Kelly have appeared on several national TV programs including Primetime with Diane Sawyer, PBS Frontline, and Oprah. John also spoke at the United Nations Intolerance Seminar.
Mr. Halligan is also the recipient of several awards including;
IBM Community Service Award 2005
Kids Safe Collaborative Community Service Award 2008
United Way's Home Town Hero Award 2008
Children Abuse Prevention Services Community Award 2009
The FBI Director's Community Service Award 2010
The Learning Channel Give A Little Award 2017
Vermont Youth Radio Interview by Becca Starr May 7, 2006
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