, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

May 6, 2013

Dad tells RHS students of bullies' impact

Rockport school officials are taking new steps toward creating a positive learning environment.

That includes steps against bullying – and that has included the father of a 13-year-old who committed suicide telling more than 500 Rockport high school and middle school students that they are the ones who hold the most power in preventing bullying by speaking up and walking away.

“Bystanders are a big part of the problem. Bullies do it for the audience. If you speak up and walk away, you take that audience away from the bully, John Halligan said during a recent presentation at the school.

“If your friend is bullying someone, tell your friend that it is not OK,” he said. “The friends of people who bully have the most power to stop it.”

This is just one program brought into the schools to help foster a positive learning environment. Before the end of the school year, Ed Gerety will talk to students about how to be a leader as an individual and as a community, said Phil Conrad, who serves as principal of the high and middle schools. Both programs are funded by a Rockport Rotary grant.

Halligan urged students to be an “upstander” to help stop bullying and not be a bystander. But he also wanted students to know they are never alone and that they are surrounded by adults who want to help if they are in need.

Halligan, who lives in Vermont, has toured nationally to speak on the effects of bullying, visiting 858 schools in 35 states — including Manchester Essex Regional Middle/High School in 2010. His program called “Ryan’s story” has been broadcast on several national outlets outlets, including CNN Anderson Cooper 360, PrimeTime with Diane Sawyer and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Halligan told the students of how his son Ryan committed suicide on Oct. 7, 2004 after years of bullying. He told the crowd that he never intended to be a regular speaker on this subject.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue