In Columbine's Wake, School Presents Anti-Bullying Program
Rachel Scott, the first person killed at Columbine, left diaries that school hopes will foster compassion, end bullying.
Rachel Scott liked to write in her diaries, chronicling her days at school.
Had she lived, those diaries might have remained in a drawer. But Scott was the first person killed, at age 17, when two students opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. in 1999 and killed 13 people, including 12 students.
Now, an anti-bullying program based on Rachel and her diaries called "Rachel's Challenge" is being presented to parents and community members at Emerson Middle School in Niles on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the school, 8101 N. Cumberland, Niles.
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"The first time I heard (the presentation), it brought tears to my eyes," said Dr. Philip Bender, superintendent of Park Ridge-Niles School District 64, which includes Emerson. He first heard it at a February conference of the American Association of School Administrators in Denver. Rachel's father, Darrell Scott, was the presenter.
"It's a phenomenal program."
Students will get age-appropriate motivation “to positive change in the way they treat others,” according to the foundation.
"The premise of the program is based on the power of the words in her diaries to transform kids' life-changing experiences," Bender said.
Emerson, as well as Lincoln Middle School in Park Ridge, is working with students to prepare them for the day’s activities and is planning ongoing involvement during the year to “continue the chain reaction of kindness and compassion” the program seeks to create, the district said.
The program, intended to bolster the schools' anti-bullying efforts, is funded with a grant from the District 64 Elementary Learning Foundation. More information is available at rachelschallenge.org.