MONROE, Wash. - A national program designed to empower students to stand up to bullying and hate made a stop in Monroe Thursday.
Rachel's Challenge is named after Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Scott's family and friends formed the group to help students across the country make a positive difference in their world in spite of the kind of hate that fueled the deadly shootings at Columbine.
Linda Boyle, Principal at Hidden River Middle School in Monroe, says it was the students idea to bring the Rachel's Challenge assembly to town.
"When the kids come to us and ask for the assemblies, I think that's a good sign that we are doing something right." she said.
The assembly was a chance for Monroe's 1,300 middle school students to hear positive messages of kindness from one of Rachel Scott's family friends, Adam Northam.
The message comes at a time when the country is reacting to issues of school bullying that have driven some kids across the country to suicide.
"We see (bullying) all the time," said Kylie Cope. "A little teasing everyday can really break someone down until they've had enough."
Teens say the widespread use of social media sites like Facebook and the ability to send quick cell phone text messages is making it far too easy for kids to get bullied.
The message from the Rachel's Challenge presentation seemed to really hit a nerve.
"We've learned that little bits of kindness can go a long way," said Howie Aikins, a Monroe Middle School Student.
As for preventing bullying in the schools, Boyle says class programs can only do so much. She says it's up to the students to take action themselves.