It's a tragic story, with a heart-wrenching lesson, that's best described by the teenagers it aims to impact. Wednesday night, students, teachers and parents in the Onondaga Central School District learned the story of Rachel Joy Scott, the first person to be shot and killed during the Columbine shooting.
"It was one of the most moving assemblies I have ever been too and I will never forget it," said said 11th grade student Shane Brewer." it was so emotional and it really inspires me to want to continue this..bullying is such a problem in our schools. I have seen it, I have experienced it and it is not fun. It needs to end."
12 years later, a program called Rachel's Challenge has gained momentum across the U.S., inspiring students to treat people with compassion, stand up to bullying, and put an end to the harmless abuse. Just this past week, a student in Buffalo took his own life after bullying became too much for him to handle.
"I started crying," said 11th grade student MacKenzie Peyatt. "She believes in a chain reaction, and kindness can really go a long way."
"The way to really change our culture, is to change our young people. And challenge students to treat each other with kindness and compassion," said Sam Downing who presented Rachel's Challenge at the high school Wednesday.
- The challenge breaks down into five parts including:
- Look for the best in others, eliminate prejudice.
- Dare to dream
- Choose positive influences
- Use kind words
- Start a chain reaction.
In the hallway of the Onondaga Central High School, a banner hangs with hundreds of signatures, from students who accept the challenge. This year, Rachel's powerful message to start a chain reaction of kindness will reach more than two million students. Read more about it here.
Do you accept Rachel's Challenge? Do you think bullying is a big problem in schools? How can we help stop it?