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The Deadly Consequences of School Bullying

The Deadly Consequences of School Bullying - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 6:38PM EST

STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY - Students teasing and hitting each other may seem like typical kid's stuff. But bullying can turn deadly. A father who believes his son committed suicide because bullies tormented him for years shared his story at Stroudsburg Junior High School Friday.
Ryan Howley loved school until fifth grade. That's when kids started to notice he walks on his toes. Howley is now in sixth grade. He said, "It kinda disturbs me to know that I'm being picked on just because nobody really knows who I am."

Every day the taunts grew worse. Ryan explained, "I was pushed against the wall and then kicked repeatedly." His mother Valerie Robinson begged the school district to help. She said, "It was heartbreaking and I can't even convey how helpless and heartbreaking it is as a parent to witness that."

So she and school officials invited someone to teach kids bullying can turn deadly. John Halligan came from Vermont to share his son Ryan's story. Ryan Halligan killed himself two months before he turned 14. John said, "I am convinced that there is no greater human pain than for a parent to lose a child."

He told the crowd of students bullies tormented his son for years. They spread rumors, hit him and teased him. "My son's story is tragically pretty universal," said John.

He told students the best way to prevent a similar tragedy is for kids to speak up when they see bullying. He explained, "The bystanders applying positive peer pressure to the few is our best hope."

Students told Eyewitness News Ryan's Story touched them and will encourage them to change their own behavior. "I know now that you have to say something because if you don't it could lead to someone doing something drastic like this," said 9th grader Connor Cooney.

Ryan hopes the lesson can help him love going to school once again. He said, "I just hope that he can put an end to all the problems I've been facing in school and outside of it."

You can learn more about Halligan's story and how to protect your kids .

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