Anti-bullying campaign sends message of kindness

March 7, 2013 3:18:09 PM PST
A group of Chicago area students got an important lesson on the dangers of bullying Thursday.

The message included words from a girl who lost her own life in the Columbine School rampage.

The death of a young woman has prompted an anti-bullying campaign.

Rachel Scott was the first student shot and killed at Columbine High School 14 years ago.

After her death, her journals revealed her way to spread kindness and diffuse bullies.

Now other teens are hearing Scott's message.

Most of these students weren't born in 1999, but Thursday hundreds of middle schools from Elgin learned about a young woman whose legacy was born out of Columbine.

"Being yourself is okay. That's the coolest thing you can do is be yourself and be kind," said Dave Gamache, Rachel's Challenge.

Rachel's Challenge urges students rally against the things that can lead to bullying and violence.

"They tease them about being obese or being chunky a little bit, they tease them about anything they can find. Little things. It doesn't make sense because what if they were you in the same position they were in," said Maria Moreno.

Some students from Ellis Middle School shared their experiences with bullying.

They are eager to find ways to be more kind.

"I want to try and stop bullying," said Jessica Valle. "I don't like seeing people get hurt. I just want to stop it."

The principal at Ellis says this message is important, especially now.

He says there are practically weekly technological tauntings.

"The outlets kids have now with cell phones and Facebook and Twitter, kids feel like they can say almost anything they want," said Perry Hayes, Ellis Middle School principal.

So far 19 million students have heard Rachel's Challenge across the country.

Many of the recent presentations have been for middle school age students.

Educators found the message was better received before the students got to high school.

There were 3,000 middle school students Thursday who were treated to watching the women's Big Ten basketball tournament afterward.