“Rachel’s Challenge” to be introduced at Granite Falls
A better way of living through kindness and compassionBefore the fatal shooting at Foss High School in Tacoma, Granite Falls middle and high schools were already planning for a challenge of acceptance and respect for one another.
On January 29 at 7pm in the Granite Falls High School gym, students, parents, and the community are invited to listen to and watch the amazing story of a young woman who believed her life would make a difference in this world.
“Rachel’s Challenge” was brought about after the 1999 Columbine tragedy when two students gunned down fellow classmates and teachers.
The basis of the challenge is that if we treat each other with kindness and understanding people will feel safe and cared for.
This concept was conceived, even before the Columbine incident, by Rachel Scott, who was the first to have her life taken away during the high school shooting on April 20, 1999.
The foundation of the challenge united with acts of kindness and compassion came from the contents of Scott’s six diaries.
When it comes to safety, Kathy Grant of the Granite Falls School District says that informing parents is high on its list.
“We try to inform our parents on a regular basis, that is just one of the things we do through our school newsletters,” Grant said.
The magnitude of “Rachel’s Challenge” has reached other countries, and the importance of a non-violence school program has struck a cord with millions of people. Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, has spoken to over five million people in live settings and millions more through television.
Grant says that after the shooting in Tacoma, a parent called the school office not as much scared for their children, but just upset about the whole incident.
Granite Falls, as well as all schools, are in close communication with their local police and fire departments in case of any emergencies.
“We have an over all school safety plan,” Grant said, as she displayed the three inch thick binder. “Each school then tailors their plan, because what works at the elementary may not work in the high school,” she said.
Grant explains that the safety plans address many scenarios, and are very comprehensive.
“They address anything from terrorist, to chemical spills, to bus accidents,” Grant stated.
With the constant change of today’s students, attitudes, and growing environment, Grant explains that safety is looked at often throughout the school year.
“It is looked at several times a year, and is always updated,” Grant said. “You can have ten bus accidents in a year, and every single one of them be different, and each one posses its own unique situation,” Grant said.
Grant hammered on the different possible variables of any situation, but there is always a basic set of procedures that one follows she said.
“After every single situation we debrief; what worked, what didn’t work, what can we tweak, how can we make this bigger better, faster? All schools do,” Grant said.
When it comes to profiling a perpetrator, there is not a profile according to a study conducted by the secret service in 2002. In that study it said, “Avoid profiling, or looking for a certain “type” of student who might commit an attack, because the attackers have been racially diverse, and had different family backgrounds, social standing and school achievement records. Too many innocent students will fit a profile, and too many attackers will not.
“Bottom line is the safety of our kids, and our staff and whatever we can do to make improvements we’re going to do,” Grant stated.
Tell us what you think, has violence increased, or are things getting better?