Rachel's Challenge prevents school violence

Posted at 11:21 PM, Oct 01, 2015

Every time there is a mass shooting, Darrell Scott knows his phone will start ringing.

"My heart deeply goes out to these wonderful people in Oregon who are grieving today. No one ever believes it's going to happen at their school," said Scott after the Umpqua Community College shooting on Thursday.

His daughter, Rachel, was killed in Columbine in 1999. Since then, he created Rachel's Challenge to promote kindness and compassion from kindergarten to corporate America.

"We know that we've hit them with the very opening video clip that we show. Our speaker introduces a picture of Rachel and then shows footage from the Columbine tragedy, and you can hear a pin drop. It's a very powerful opening piece that captivates them for the next hour," said Scott.

The program is based on the writings of the 17-year-old, who seemed prophetic in some of what she wrote.

"She drew an outline of her hands when she was 13 years old and said she was 'Rachel Joy Scott' and will someday touch millions of people's hearts," said Scott.

She has touched millions, as Rachel's Challenge is taught in schools and companies in every state and multiple countries. Scott said that during the busy school season, 30 assemblies could be happening on the same day.

"We've seen seven to 15 school shootings prevented, that we know of," said Scott. "We see 150 suicides every year prevented because of Rachel's story."

He knows that because the non-profit receives unsolicited letters from students who have gone through the assemblies. Those letters reveal the student reconsidered harming themselves or someone else.

"We actually created a little book of some of the more dramatic ones," said Scott.

Some examples include:

"I had been fully prepared to take my life…hearing Rachel's words made me rethink everything."

"I was planning for a long time to kill myself…and my decision still wasn't final until today…I decided not to."

"I've been suicidal for so many years…then I got this wake up call."

"Before Rachel's Challenge, I can honestly say I wanted to take my own life."

He said that Rachel's Challenge does not promote when something tragic has been prevented.

"We quietly are thankful when we hear a report like that. We share it with our staff, but we don't put it on the web or anything else," said Scott.

On a day when another state and another school is suffering through another mass shooting, Scott hopes that his message to students can help prevent yet another one.

"To any student or any college student or high school or middle school student that hears something or knows something, please report it because you never know when you're going to save the lives of, sometimes, dozens of people," said Scott.