Father of Columbine victim reiterates hopeful message

6:37 PM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Darrell Scott, who lost his daughter in the tragic mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, spoke to 9NEWS Friday evening after yet another shooting at a Colorado high school.

On Friday, a female student student at Arapahoe High School was shot. The gunman, identified as 18-year-old Karl Pierson, shot and killed himself. Pierson was also a student at the school.

Scott knows what the parents of those victims are going through. Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine.

Scott said he always dreads when he gets a call from a television station because he knows instantly what has happened.

Despite the pit in the stomach he feels, he feels the need to reiterate what Rachel's lasting memory will be: the two-page "Code of Ethics" she wrote a month before her death.

Scott and his wife Sandy started "Rachel's Challenge" to motivate, educate and bring positive change to many young people. Rachel's Challenge presentations are given in schools and communities by members of her family and other speakers, using video footage of the Columbine High School massacre and its aftermath, combined with Rachel Scott's drawings and writings, in a campaign to quell school violence, bullying, and teen suicide.

The Rachel's Challenge program includes establishing Friends of Rachel clubs in schools, following the initial presentation, to sustain the campaign's goals on a long-term basis. Schools around the country have incorporated Rachel's challenge into their own clubs bringing the message to their students.

"We have seen about three school shootings prevented," Scott told 9NEWS on Friday. "I'm always heartbroken for parents whether they have lost a child or as today had children who are injured. Because I lost a child, and I had a son that was injured not physically, but was injured emotionally in a very deep way that still affects him to this day."

Scott said prevention is at the heart of this issue.

"There's no real answers in crisis and you have to learn to crisis," Scott said. "So much was learned from the crisis at Columbine, but too many people want to give a knee-jerk answer to remedies when there's a crisis occurring but really the answer is long-term prevention. But we can't be everywhere. We're not the overall answer."

On April 20, 2009, the 10th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, Darrell Scott told NBC interviewer Natalie Morales on the Today Show, "We've seen a lot of lives changed from her story and our program, Rachel's Challenge, has touched literally 13 million lives over the last 10 years."

Scott has also co-authored three books about his daughter's life and her impact, urging students to practice compassion and kindness.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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