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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Reaching out to the bullied

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  • Purple is the color of Prairie View Academy and the purple heart is the symbol of courage.
    The student body and staff of the school came together for a picture as a sign of their acceptance of Rachel's Challenge, a program used to empower and equip all students and adults to combat bullying and alleviate feelings of isolation and despair.
    Principal Dale Bishop takes the problem of bullying very serious and has taken steps to not only educate those attending PVA but the community as a whole by inviting the public to attend a Rachel's Challenge program at 6 p.m. tonight in the school's cafeteria.
    Each day 160,000 students do not go to school because they are bullied, teased and harassed. By turning the story of a tragic death at Columbine High School into a mission for change, Rachel's Challenge is helping create safer learning environments and making a world-wide difference.
    The program is based on the writings and life of 17 year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others or who were new at her school.
    Rachel's Challenge was started by Rachel's dad and stepmom when they realized that the writings and drawings Rachel left not only had an impact on her friends and classmates but also resonated with students around the world.
    A few weeks after the tragedy, Darrell Scott, Rachel's father, spoke to a Congressional House Judiciary Committee regarding issues of school violence. His speech has become one of the most widely read on the internet. Shortly afterwards, he founded "Rachel's Challenge," a bullying and violence prevention program. More than 2.5 million students annually experience Rachel's Challenge and have the opportunity to accept the challenges, modeled after Rachel's life and writings.
    The universal message of kindness and compassion told by Rachel's story has been heard by students in several other countries. Since inception, over 17 million people have heard Rachel's story in settings around the world through live programs. At least eight school shootings have been prevented and over 500 suicides have been averted. The Scott family and other Rachel's Challenge certified presenters have reached millions more on popular media outlets like CNN, Fox News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Oprah, Dateline, O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes and numerous others. Scott has also authored three books, including the bestseller "Rachel's Tears."
    He meets regularly with politicians and educators, and is also a keynote speaker at many large educational venues. Scott met with President Bill Clinton on two occasions and former President George W. Bush has written a personal letter recommending Rachel's Challenge.
    For more information on how to have a Rachel's Challenge event at your school or conference, please call 877.895.7060, or visit the website at www.rachelschallenge.org.
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