When Warren County School District students return to the classroom in September, they will learn about the consequences of bullying from someone with tragic firsthand experience.
On Sept. 2 and 3, John Halligan will be speaking to students. Halligan speaks across the country about his son, who committed suicide when he was 13 as the result of bullying.
Halligan, who was supposed to speak last April but was postponed due to the death of Beaty Warren Middle School teacher Danene Mattern, will speak with the sponsorship of Wal-Mart, the Warren County Ophelia Project's "Cool to Be Kind" program and a grant through the Warren County School District, Christin Borger, the "Cool to Be Kind" mentor leader, said.
"We, through the Beaty Olweus Bullying Prevention Committee, are trying to change the school culture, including bus situations, the cafeteria, the actual school environment and extra-curricular activities, " Borger said.
According to a press release sent by Borger, the Olweus Bullying Program has been used in various countries to reduce bullying and improve peer relations in schools. The use of the program at Beaty started last year.
The "Cool to Be Kind" program is made up of student mentors who present programs with themes about peer relations to younger students in the school district.
Halligan will speak at Beaty at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2 and will then eat lunch with the students and "Cool to Be Kind" and Ophelia mentors, Borger said. He will then be at Eisenhower Junior/Senior High School to present his program to seventh and eighth grade students.
Borger said Halligan will present a free program for parents at 7 p.m. in the Beaty auditorium.
On Thursday, Sept. 3, she said Halligan will be at Youngville Elementary/Middle School at 9 a.m. and at Sheffield Area Middle/High School at 1 p.m., where he will have lunch with the students.
Halligan's program will be used with the Olweus and Ophelia programs to halt bullying problems in the county.
"Bullying is such a pervasive, destructive problem," Borger said.