PE ELL, Wash. -- If parents and educators wanted to find a way to turn the school in Pe Ell into a more positive atmosphere, the principal said that happened Tuesday.
Students at Pe Ell’s K-12 school learned about Rachel Joy Scott, the first student to be killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
Six weeks before her death, Scott wrote an essay encouraging people to be kind to each other.
“She wanted to challenge people, to start a chain reaction,” said Nina Daniels, a presenter for the Rachel’s Challenge organization.
Pe Ell’s principal, Chris Shoemaker, said the district sought out the presentation after a year he described as “rough.”
Reports of student drinking have increased and last year the softball coach at Pe Ell High School, Todd Phelps, was found guilty of raping a student.
Shoemaker said the district contacted “Rachel’s Challenge” because the community wanted to make the campus a positive place again.
He said the presentation will make it easier for students to recognize negative situations and brought up ways to help students who need it.
By the end of Tuesday’s presentation, a number of students were in tears.
Daniels, who was a family friend of Rachel’s, has delivered hundreds of the presentations.
Daniels said for some students it’s the first time they’ve learned about what happened in Littlerock, Colorado.
“I think the kids leave a little shaken,” said Daniels.
Twelve children and a teacher were killed by two students.
Many of the Pe Ell high schoolers said the “Rachel’s Challenge” assembly was like no other they’ve been to.
“Usually the effect will last for a couple of days. But this is a big one. This is a good one,” said Kayla Hoke, a junior at Pe Ell High School.
Learn more about Rachel's Challenge.