Creating an Anti-Bullying Program in Your School – Step 2
In our last post, “Creating an Anti-Bullying Program in Your School – Step 1”, you met Rachel Joy Scott and heard a little bit of her story. Rachel never gained fame or fortune prior to her death. It wasn’t until after she died and her parents and family members read her journals and writings that they began to understand more about Rachel that while they may have suspected, not everyone knew.
Rachel led an eclectic life with interests in writing, acting, fashion and photography, but through it all she maintained her faith and thought perhaps she would become a Christian Missionary. She was young, the world was her oyster and she was cultivating many pearls. Rachel had everything to look forward to until that fateful day in April, 1999. Then the world changed for all of us.
On that day, April 20, 1999 Rachel was eating lunch on the lawn of the school with a friend and was shot quickly, 3 times. Surviving the first three shots and attempting to crawl to safety, it is said that while telling the shooter she still believed in God, she was shot a fourth and fatal time. To the very end when most would have forsaken it, Rachel kept her faith.
An international media event, Rachel’s funeral was broadcast for all to see. Several friends eulogized her and one in particular, outcast who stated she was his angel. Her kindness and love of humanity made a lot of people feel loved and wanted. Little did she know that this would be her legacy.
In 1997 Rachel began journaling after a Christmas gift from her Mom. Over the next 16 months Rachel put pen to paper in her journals many times, documenting her life and her beliefs Included in her journal were not only prayers, drawings and musings, but a legacy of her efforts to help those down trodden in society or outcast at school. She never wavered in her task.
“My Ethics; My Codes of Life” is an essay Rachel wrote for school maybe a month before her death. It spoke to the core of her beliefs about life. Compassion, brother/sisterhood and caring for one another were all at the root.
It wasn’t until two years after her death, that her father, after reading her journals and her essay and realizing what Rachel was to more people than just her family, that Darrel Scott founded the Rachel’s Challenge Organization.
Rachel’s Challenge is a program that schools from elementary to University, as well as business can benefit from in this day and age. Rachel’s Challenge is just that, a challenge that encourages people to behave kindly, to look for the good in people and to reassure them that it is seen and valued. Rachel’s Challenge Organization seeks to promote these ideals as well as to promote a safe and positive surrounding at school. Rachel’s Challenge isn’t just an organization. It is filled with people that have devoted themselves to this journey and have taken on the task of promoting these five principals to the world at large:
“ to eliminate any form of prejudice from their being, and seek only the best in others;
to keep a journal and seek to achieve accomplishments; to choose to accept only positive influences in their lives;
to commit to bringing a positive change in their home, school, and community through kind words, and undertaking tasks great and small;
and to show care and compassion to those who are vulnerable, ridiculed, or in any form of need.
A final impetus is to commit to Rachel's theory of the formation of a chain reaction through these five pledges by sharing these commitments with their family members, friends, and peers.”
Taken from the www.rachelschallenge.org website.
Schools that choose to participate in the Rachel’s Challenge program are provided with a curriculum to make sure that the core beliefs of Rachel’s Challenge are not diluted over time. Speakers meet after the main assembly with children, with parents and often community leaders. This theme as simple as it may seem is one of involvement. Involvement at all levels, with a commitment to compassion, understanding and acceptance is a key to the process.
It’s all about starting that chain reaction of compassion and kindness. This was Rachel’s vision and this is what Rachel’s Challenge is all about.
Tasks for schools that become part of Rachel’s Challenge do things after the initial meeting, like sign banners pledging to commit to the five principals taught through Rachel’s Challenge and to make them part of their every day mantra. Normally they are posted in the common areas as a reminder to all that they have made this commitment. It serves as a strong reminder to remember to treat others with kindness and compassion.
Rachel’s Challenge clubs are formed to promote the principals of Rachel’s Challenge and keep them in front of everyone each and every day. Committing to a program of any type is a large ask for teenagers. But this is worth it. With RachelsChallenge.org you have help. You are not on your own. You have help and guidance to make this the day that a wave of change comes over your school.