Rachel's Challenge Aims for Safer Schools - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Rachel's Challenge Aims for Safer Schools


VAN ALSTYNE,TX--- In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, students at Van Alstyne Middle School are trying to replace violence with kindness by joining a national campaign called Rachel's Challenge.

Signs of this campaign can be seen all over the school and students say after three years of being involved in the program, they've seen drastic changes.

Most students at the school don't have any memories of the tragedy that happened more than 13 years ago at Columbine High School, but that doesn't stop them from being deeply moved by the massacre's first victim Rachel Scott.

"This whole story, it really moved me and then I went online and looked at it and I became really interested in it," student Mackenzie Reid said.  

Scott was known for having a compassionate and loving heart. In one of her journals she described kindness as a chain reaction. Ten years after her death, her dad created Rachel's Challenge in her honor. He says the program aims to replace school violence with kindness.

"It's showing not only support, but it's helping people to do good things," student Gage Proctor said.

Students say the program has created big changes at their school since it was first started.

"A lot of bullying has gone down in this school, it's like a perfect school now. We do things to show acts of kindness," student Kimball Daniels said.

Their acts can be seen throughout the school's halls.

"Everytime someone sees someone doing a good thing they will write it down. We are making a chain because chain reactions are when you see someone do a good deed and you want to do a good deed," student Carli Hopper said.  

"When people are nice to others it gives you a good feeling and then you will be nice to someone else," Reid said.

The kind deeds aren't just for familiar faces. Students also try to make new classmates feel welcome when they walk through the halls instead of isolated.

"We know that when new students come to school they struggle and so we try to work and help new students when they come in," school counselor Cindy Crow said.

It hasn't gone unnoticed. One student says these acts of kindness have come full circle.

"When I came here, I was a new student in 5th grade. I was so grateful because I moved from a bigger school. Moving from a bigger to a smaller school, it's so different that I just didn't know what to do and Rachel's Challenge helped me a lot," Hopper said.

Scott's father says so far, the challenge has reached three million students nationwide and prevented seven school shootings. For more information on the program, you can go to the Rachel's Challenge website here.