John Halligan shared his son's story to help parents in Fort Pierce combat bullying in school

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A man traveled more than a thousand miles to tell his son's story on Thursday night in Fort Pierce.  It's a story he hopes will help another family avoid tragedy.

Ryan Halligan was just 13 years old when he committed suicide in 2003 in Vermont. His father John says he was bullied.

"One kid was spreading rumors that he was gay and then there was a girl he tried to connect with online from the school, and she pretended to like him and told him to his face he was a loser," says John Halligan.

Since his son died, John Halligan has toured the country speaking to parents and students about bullying.

"I'm hopeful when I talk to the parents tonight to give them information about the mistakes we made along the way," says Halligan.

He spoke to about 20 parents at St. Andrew's Episcopal Academy.  He told them Ryan's story and gave them tips.

"You need to invade their privacy. You need to check in on them," says Halligan.

He told parents to monitor their child's computer use, no secret passwords, no social media unless it's a family page and talk to your children about bullying and suicide.

"This generation, they have the Internet as an option to go home to and find another way to torment each other," says Halligan.

Aimee Aycock is a parent who helped organize the event.  Bullying is something she knows very well.

"I was in 10th grade, and I was bullied and it was really rough," says Aycock.

Aycock wants to be prepared in case her child is a target.

"Learning the tools to be able to down the road if it should happen be able to help my daughter," says Aycock.

Thursday night's discussion was only for parents.  On Friday Halligan will talk with students.

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