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In memory of Ryan Patrick Halligan 

1989 - 2003

Click Here to Find Your Bullying Prevention State Law

Vermont's Bully Prevention Law - ACT 117


Governor Douglas Signs Bullying Prevention Policy Law


Montpelier, Vt., May 18, 2004--Governor Jim Douglas signed into law a bill establishing bullying prevention procedures for schools. Governor Douglas said the measure is the result of efforts by those who have worked to raise awareness about bullying and its effects on children. "Bullying is conduct that this bill recognizes as being more than just 'kids being kids'," Douglas said. "When it becomes pervasive, persistent and designed to humiliate or ridicule our children it requires some response from not only parents but also our schools."John Halligan, (seen here with his wife to the Governor's right) whose son took his own life after being the victim of persistent bullying, thanked parents, students, educators and lawmakers who supported the bill. "No Vermont child should ever again be driven to self inflicted harm and even death, to cope with the self doubt and pain caused by bullying," Halligan said. "We do not pass laws expecting them to solve problems over night. We pass laws to make a strong statement of what is expected when we commune as a society. This bill makes a very strong statement of what is expected of our schools when it comes to bullying prevention.""Bullying is an issue that should concern all of us--as students, as parents, as school officials and as lawmakers," Douglas said. "The first step in solving an issue such as bullying is to raise awareness through public and private dialogue. This law, and those who worked so hard for its passage, have accomplished this and I thank them for their efforts," he said.


From bill to Law - only 7 months after Ryan's death


Assigned to the House Education Committee on 1/27/04

Joint House/Senate Ed Committee Public Hearing held in Winooski on 4/5/04

Passed 11-0 in the House Education Committee on 4/29/04

Passed 130-9 in the Vermont House on 4/27/04 

Assigned to the Senate Education Committee on 4/29/04

Passed 5-0 in the Senate Education Committee on 5/5/04

Passed Unanimously in the Vermont Senate on 5/6/04 

Signed by Governor Douglas on 5/18/04

Vermont's Suicide Prevention Law - ACT 114


AN ACT RELATING TO TEACHING ABOUT SIGNS OF AND RESPONSES TO DEPRESSION AND RISK OF SUICIDE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS


BILL AS INTRODUCED


2005-2006


written by John Halligan and passed unchanged April 2006.


H.630


Introduced by   Representatives Donahue of Northfield, Potter of Clarendon and Rusten of Halifax


Subject:  Education; health education; depression; suicide risk


Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to include teaching about signs of and responses to depression and risk of suicide to the definition of health education which must be taught in public schools.


AN ACT RELATING TO TEACHING ABOUT SIGNS OF AND RESPONSES TO DEPRESSION AND RISK OF SUICIDE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


Sec. 1.  16  V.S.A. § 131 is amended to read:

§ 131.  DEFINITIONS


For the purposes of this subchapter:


"Comprehensive health education" means a systematic and extensive elementary and secondary educational program designed to provide a variety of learning experiences based upon knowledge of the human organism as it functions within its environment.  The term includes, but is not limited to, a study of:


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(5)  Family health and mental health, including instruction which promotes the development of responsible personal behavior involving decision making about sexual activity including abstinence; skills which strengthen existing family ties involving communication, cooperation, and interaction between parents and students; and instruction to aid in the establishment of strong family life in the future, thereby contributing to the enrichment of the community; and which promotes an understanding of depression and the signs of suicide risk for a family member or fellow student that includes how to respond appropriately and seek help and provides an awareness of the available school and community resources such as the local suicide crisis hotline;


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