Sexual bullying is devastating for a child, but it's even more dangerous when cyberbullying is brought into the picture. This type of bullying contributed to Ryan Halligan's suicide in 2003, according to his family. "He was definitely the apple of my eye," says his mom, Kelly. "He had the greatest gift of all, and it was a great personality."
Ryan's parents remember their son.
Ryan's parents say kids started teasing him in fifth grade. "When Ryan came to me and said he was being picked on, my initial response was: 'It's just words. You need to just ignore him,'" says his dad, John.
The bullying continued on and off until seventh grade. To his parents' surprise, Ryan said he was becoming friends with one of his bullies, but things quickly took a bad turn. "He spread a rumor around the school and online that my son was gay," John says. "It was like a feeding frenzy. All of a sudden, kids who normally didn't bully Ryan got in on the so-called fun."