main content starts hereDepression, bullying topics of March 16 student, parent presentations

| March 4, 2016

Mohonasen High School and Draper Middle School will offer a powerful assembly on depression and bullying for students in grades 7-12 on Wednesday, March 16. An event for parents is also planned that evening.

John Halligan will speak with students about his experience as a father whose 13-year-old-son took his own life. Mr. Halligan will discuss the factors that led to the death of his son, Ryan, in 2003, including depression and bullying both in-person and online. His story is riveting and powerful. It challenges students to examine their own behaviors and reminds them that there is a face, a person and a heart on the other end of the computer screen.

The presentation will include a short video collection of home movie clips and still pictures of Ryan. Mr. Halligan will give students perspective from inside the family of a child who was a target of bullying and cyberbullying.  Students will also learn about the signs and risks of teenage depression and how best to help a friend. At the end of the presentation, Mr. Halligan will answer questions from students.

Students will have discussion in their classrooms about the assembly, and school counselors will be available for any students who need additional support. Parents who do not want their children to attend the presentation should send a written note to their child’s school counselor by Friday, March 11.

Parents are encouraged to discuss the presentation with their children. Additional information about Mr. Halligan’s story is available at

Parents are invited to attend two events on Wednesday evening at Mohonasen High School. A Wellness Fair will take place from 6-7 p.m. in the high school theater lobby. Community organizations will provide information on many aspects of health and wellness.

At 7 p.m., Mr. Halligan will give a presentation for parents in the Mohonasen High School auditorium. He will share with parents the lessons learned from his experience and will address some of the social media challenges facing teens today. This presentation is intended for adults, and childcare will be provided. Please RSVP with the number of children and their ages to Kathleen Sacks, or Colleen Ellison, 356-8322.

Parents with additional questions should contact either High School Principal Lisa Patierne at 356-8300 or Draper Principal Debra Male at 356-8350.