Cyberbullying – Ryan Halligan’s Story


The stories I tell of my bullying were before the era of Cyberbullying, the new type. This type of bullying might be even more damaging, because of how quickly a cyberbully can get information into the hands of the masses.

Ryan Halligan

I was touched to read the story of Ryan Patrick Halligan. His parents have created a site dedicated to his story and have shared his story on the site and their feelings as well. I’m sure it was tough to write and create this site, and I applaud the parents for sharing their personal story in the hopes of helping others.

On their site, they write:

In December 2002, the bullying problem surfaced again to a significant level. There was an evening that month when he just had a melt down … a very tearful session at the kitchen table. We thought 7th grade was going fine but discovered he was bottling up a lot of bad experiences during the first few months.  Again, it was the same kid and his friends that bullied him on and off since the 5th grade. They were tormenting him again and he said he hated going to school, that he never wanted to go back there. He asked that night if we could move or home school him.

I was torn between wanting to be his bodyguard all day and feeling he needed to (again) learn how to manage the situation as a part of growing up. We sat at the kitchen table discussing our options that evening. We explained that moving in the middle of the winter was not a good time and home schooling was not an option because Mom worked part-time. I said, “That’s it Ryan. I had enough. Let’s take it to the principal and have him put a stop to it once and for all.” To that, Ryan exclaimed, “No dad, please don’t do that. They will only make it worse. I see it happen all the time.” Instead Ryan asked that we help him learn how to fight so he can “beat the heck” out of this kid if he or his 8th grade friends tried to jump Ryan.

This story is so familiar to me. In many ways it parallels my days being bullied and the feelings I had. Also, I have a son that struggles through school and worry about his being labelled and how that will affect him. I watch carefully for signs that he is being bullied, but have not seen any issues as of yet. He is 13.

Please read the rest of Ryan’s story at the link I included here. It certainly touched me.

54 thoughts on “Cyberbullying – Ryan Halligan’s Story

  1. Thank you for your very informative website. The more people realize that bullying is not just a part of growing up, but is an extremely serious problem, the better. Also I want to thank you for including Ryan Halligan’s story. I like to many other people, am deeply moved by Ryan’s ordeal. He was a beautiful boy who never should have endured the torment he did. No child should.

  2. im so sorry….i read his story and it really upset me. he was a very cute boy. those kids are terrible people and i know Ryan is in a better plcae. it has been on my mind alot latey, your son. i feel compelled to say how sorry i am. and i hope you and your family are doing ok. you have a beautiful angel watching over you

  3. Like Mel said above, Ryan’s story truly upset me and he has been in the forefront of my mind. All I can do it try to make people aware of Ryan’s story and tell them not to write bullying off as merely a part of growing up.

  4. I saw your movie in my 6 period class for leadership and all of my classmates and me were very toucthed when we saw it. We were trying to think of a reasen why people bully and we had no good answer.

  5. I just read this story for my class report on cyber bulling and it truly touch me on how damaging this bullying can be. I wish that this would not happen and if it did that it would end better.unfortunately not for Ryan’s case. I wish the best for you.

  6. I read the story of Ryan, and I felt heartbroken and angry. I’m not only angry at the bullies who pushed him to his self-destruct, but also at the school administration.

    Here’s one thing: those bullies, however hateful they were, were kids who probably didn’t understand the outcome. However, those teacher, principles, and social workers are adults. It is always their job to inform the kids that it is wrong to bully others.

    The way I see it, based on the painful childhood of my own, is that we must remember that teachers are humans who could be favoring other students for whatever reasons and who could be looking down on those kids who are different. Another things is that as adults, teachers may think that being teased or being joked on is no big deal (just laugh with them, they would say). Of course, they are grown ups and had seen it all, it is quite easy for them to shrug it off. Yet, those students are kids. Kids are sensitive and they hadn’t seen it all yet. So, for Ryan’s case, I completely finger point the school administration at fault. I remembered the part when Ryan’s father mentioned that Ryan won’t go to the principle because he thinks that things will get much worse. Where did he get that idea? Obviously, there were precedents. Teachers had been doing a poor job on protecting the victims from their bullies.

    I want to say this as a victim of bullying myself, parents, please don’t sit back when your kids are being bullied and expect the teachers to handle it. A lot of times, sadly, it is not this way.

  7. I am doing a project about cyber bulling for one of my college classes and the story of ryan really touched me. i plan on sharing his sad story in my paper to say how serious this type of online bullying is.
    I am deeply sorry for your loss. Ryan seemed like a very nice little boy. God will take care of him now.

  8. Ryan’s story has opened my eyes to cyber bullying. I am doing a project about it and i will share Ryan’s story because it needs to be heard. Cyber bullying is a serious issue that many still struggle to realize. And although your son is gone…his spirit is still here on earth. God will watch over ryan now, as Ryan watches over you and your family.

  9. i had assembly and ryan’s father was there and he told me his son’s story. im 13 years old and to see someone go through this at my age is very heartbeaking story to here. ryan’s younger brother is only 8 and his older brother is dead that is so sad to here. because as much as my brothers and i fight i know and they know that we all LOVE eachother. this family is my prayers. Ryan may he look over his family in love, peace, and happyness. also to her this story may me cry for 2 hours.

  10. Me and my friends had an assembly earleir today and we were all touched by Mr. Halligan’s speech. We feel very bad for Ryan’s family and friends and we will do all we can in the future to make our school a better place for everybody. Cyberbullying is a big problem and I hope nobobdy takes it to heart like Ryan did even though I thought it was a horrible thing those kids did. We took this assembly very seriously and our hearts go out to the Halligan family.

    • i am doing a leaflet at school about the dangers and effects of mobile phones and computer messaging and i came across this story when researching cyber bullying it made me realise how dangerous it can be and made me very upset to hear about your loss

  11. I’m just going through the exact same thing with my son who started Facebook this month. I’m blocking it before it’s too late. I think most kids are too immature for it.

  12. I happen to be a thirteen year old reading this story and I just got out of a bible study with girls my age, and we were talking about this exact thing and how cyberbullying, physical bullying, and relationship bullying are 1) very dangerous 2) could result in something you never thought would happen, and 3) could prevent you from getting accepted into colleges and job applications. Dont get a Facebook, Myspace, or any other internet communication system. You will be very sorry!!!!!!!!

    ps i am sooooo sorry about your son. I will be praying that you will get over this even though I dont know you. Just know that God loves you dearly and NO ONE can EVER change that.

    in Christ

  13. I am 13 as well and I am so sorry. Those teachers should have done something. In my country, those students would have been expelled. I wish I was there then, I would have kicked those other children’s butt, especially that girl he liked. I’m serious!

  14. They are NOT KIDS, LET FACE IT AMERICA! THEY ARE MONSTERS and NOBODY wants to see it that way because they are under age, they are no less than a CHILD ABUSER and it should be prosecute to death penalty, even if they are what Americans call them “kids.”

  15. I am so sorry this happened to Ryan and his family and other “survivors”. I am a middle school teacher and I’m looking into transferring to school counseling. In my opinion; the schools have gone too far protecting the bullies and blaming the victims. I have seen it firsthand. When I taught, I have been punished for protecting the child who was bullied. And I would do it again. Let me know if I could help in anyway. It would be my pleasure. All my best.
    Darcy S.

  16. I happen to be 13, i saw your story on Oprah && it really touchedd my heart. I even cried && i like never cry. I’m so sorry about your loss, that must have been thee hardest thing in thee world! I will keep Ryan in my heart && i wont forget this, He has been running through my head alot latley, i wsh i would have had a chance to meet this kidd. [: i will pray for thee Halligan family and Ryan, i hope that you guys meet again in life && that things will hopfully get better. When ever that comes to my mind i just think to myself he is in a better place know and we will NEVER forget him, This kid touched my heart.
    P.S. You have a Beautiful angel watching over you, && i pray to god you guys met up again in your future. ❤

  17. ..im really very sorry about Ryan!!
    but i was touched of his story!!
    i even cried in his story!!
    i will pray for ryan and his family!!

  18. ryan was such a nice guy but it all just ended! so sorry for him …and moreover he is good-looking too…mizzHIm…!

  19. I read the story of Ryan. It really saddens me to see how cyberbullying can lead to this. I am definitely sorry for him. Cyberbullying must stop. We, as teenagers, need to learn how to put a stop to it. Resistance and Courage is all it takes to win. I am a teen writer at RadicalParenting.com which is a parenting blog from the kid’s perspective there are 60 teen and tween writers run by teen author, Vanessa Van Petten. We just posted a video of cyberbullying here:

    and would love for you to check it out and tell us what you think or repost if you like it,

    Cheers, thanks for checking it out!

    Gokce and the Teen Team
    http://radicalparenting.com

  20. I am so so so sorry about your son. Your son is cute. I was very upset to hear about this. I cried in class when i read this. Im very sorry for your son, i cant imagine wwhat you are still going through. i will pray every night for ryan and his family.

  21. It’s pathetic to the max. Cyberbullying, I mean. I was a member of these forums related to a video game called “Resident Evil” and the idiots who were in charge banned me over nothing. They got all their buddies and affiliates to do it as well. They always act so popular and yet, I don’t get a say in any of it. I even also the boot from the official Capcom forums, and recently had a panic attack and everything. If there was a way I could sue the pants off them, I would do it in a flash for all they did to me. I realize I’m giving them too much credit, so I’ll stop there. I’m through with their crappy forums forever now.

  22. ..this story is so sad….i hope nobody does me this way ,and who ever did this to Ryan is SO how dhere mine…&& eye hope yall as dhe family is 0kie,eye will keep yall in my praires………

  23. When i read this story about Ryan it was really upsetting to read how sad it was and i just want to say is that even though Ryan is gone he is still in are heart so ryan were thinking about you man.

  24. I’m sorry about what happened and I hope those kids get what they deserve for doing that to him…R.I.P Ryan Hslligan

  25. My name is Peter and I’ve been dealing with cyberbullying for a long time now myself. I have lots of experience in this field. I’ve been mentally abused by the Internet. I have to drink lots of grape juice just to calm my nerves.

    Take it from me. Bullying online is something that you cannot easily fight. Now with free speech and whatnot, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rectify such issues, as the host will say they won’t monitor the content of their customers. That basically means that they don’t care. It got that bad, that I had to make my YouTube videos private and have a friendship approve system set up for Bebo and Facebook.

    As it is, I’m currently being hassled by some ‘users’ from Encyclopedia Dramatica, or ED as it is also known. They wrote a whole page based around my “life” history which I am unable to remove. Then they discovered I had been using a Wikipedia account to contribute to certain articles that are of interest to me, so they’re defacing my 45g user page over there, while trying to make out I’m false flagging their talk pages in order to get them banned, which is not true. I believe I’ve did my best to ignore them, but part of my problem is that I like to get the last word in.

    They also went and made a complaint on a page, and it was marked as resolved by someone in power, and added to an archive of old logs so it could be forgotten about. Not content with that, the people who started the quarm decided to begin a second discussion, claiming the problem had arose again, when all I did was simply ask an admin to protect my page, due to vandals. They overlooked the whole thing, and then wrote it off that I started it.

    I’m also being stalked on other forums by the same woman from ED. This had happened before with various other people from unrelated websites, who came and went over the years. ED sysop (name removed) googled my handles in order to find me on other websites, and then registered at said websites just to start more trouble. It’s rather worrying though when you find out the person behind it, is an adult.

    This cycle of harassment has been going on for several years now. Just with different people on the Internet each time, almost like they were cloned in a secret lab just to make my life a misery. But I’m at a point now where I can take it or leave it. The Internet is useful, yes. But it’s a shame that there will always be sick people on it being abusive to others.

    I do recall one memorable incident where a guy called Jason had me kicked off some audio tribute site just for being a member. I even spoke to the owner of the site on the phone, then I discovered they were talking about me again. The only reason they still run a site is just to ban me, it seems.

    Do these people even have lives of their own? I often wonder…

  26. I applaud these parents for making a website about their son. Cyberbullying is such an issue nowadays that the more press coverage it gets, the more quickly the problem will get resolved. I know that it can never be eliminated fully, but if people take a forward approach, i think we can limit the amount of hurt. It’s so tragic to hear that yet another kid has taken their life become of someone abusing them on the internet. I cant believe that people have the nerve to hurt others whilst hiding behind a computer screen. Its sad. When i surf the internet, i try to steer clear of the hurtful content, my favorite site is http://www.textkills.com/ because it lets me speak my mind in the comments on its stories. It has really cool and up to date stories on issues that are important to the public. Check it out and see for yourself!

  27. Pingback: Thank You For Reading in 2010 « Bullying Stories

  28. I’m so sorry about your loss and i hope the cyber bullies have suffered the consequences … i dont really think we can exzactly eliminate cyberbullieng fully but i believe we can help so I’m telling all my friends to read this page an many of them were very shocked at how far cyber bullying has gotten.

  29. I am so sorry for what has happened to Ryan. This story really got to me and made me cry. It is upsetting that people have to be so rude. There’s a difference in being sarcastic and be rude. These kids shouldn’t have treated Ryan this way. You treat others as you would want to be treated. Also if they didn’t have anything nice to say or write about Ryan then they shouldn’t have done it. Thats what my grandmother always tells me. I am a Freshman in High School and my Intro. to Computers class is doing a project about Cyber Bullying! We have watched so many video’s about these kids problems. When Ryan’s Father had to go hundreds of schools and tell them his son’s story and feel his pain is truly strong. I admire the story and I understand the pain he is going through. I would really like John Halligan to come to our school and speak to our high school!!!! This will be a great learning experience for our school! Flanagan, Illinois!
    ~Thank you love Jessica xo ❤

  30. I heard this story in 7th grade, at first I didn’t care
    than when I saw the movie Cyberbully and it opened up to me about the dangers of cyberbulling. Now I am trying to find a way to srop cyberbulling.

  31. thats really sad .. am soo sorry for your loss. this story is soo touching that i burst in tears . i were not aware of cyber bullying before i had to write a essay on it, because here in Norway i have not heared of children commiting suicide by getting cyber bulled. Many of us is proud of Ryan’s parents. The step they have decide to take ,to help other people who are getting cyber bulled these days is really appreciating. am really depressed over what the bully did. He called himself his friend, so unreal.
    I dont have words to describe my feelings right now.. am just really sad. :(:(. R.I.P RYAN.

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