Woodland Students Learn Powerful Message

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Eighth-graders at Woodland Middle School were taught an important lesson on Oct. 8 about the lasting effects of bullying and the impact it has on students and their families.

John Halligan shared an emotional story about how he lost his 13-year-old son Ryan to suicide on Oct. 7, 2003. He recalled the devastating phone call from his wife at 6 a.m. while away on a business trip. “I was never prepared for that phone call,” he said. “My life, my family’s life, will never be the same.”

As a slideshow of Ryan’s photos played in the background, Mr. Halligan shared details of the struggles and bullying that his son faced from fifth to eighth grade. To conclude the program, Mr. Halligan left the students with a positive message. He encouraged each of them to stand up for others and to treat others with kindness and respect. He also reminded them that they are all loved.

“Don’t ever believe for a second that you don’t matter. That no one would miss you if you were gone,” Mr. Halligan said. “All of you are loved beyond belief.”