Rachel's Challenge students work to keep peers from negative behavior


by LaSalle Blanks


Posted on February 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 28 at 5:22 PM

NORFOLK -- Fighting violence and the attitudes that could possiibly lead to it. Hampton Roads can learn from what happened in Ohio.

Only 13News went behind the scenes of active threat training with Norfolk police -- watching them train for the unthinkable. They need to be prepared in case a nightmare like what happened in Ohio happens here.

In a situation like that, even police officers have their greatest fears.

"Mass casualties," said Lt. Jeff Shuey of the Norfolk Police Dept. "Numerous children or adults (hit) before we can get there and stop that threat."

Stopping that threat could also start with attitudes at school. The Rachel's Challenge program gives students the skills they need to spread kindness and acts of goodwill; to fight things like bullying, discrimination, and alienation.

It's named after Rachel Joy Scott, the first person killed in the Columbine tragedy. She left behind a series of writings encouraging students to be better people, to start a chain reaction of kindness throughout their school communities.

13News has met many students from several schools taking on Rachel's Challenge and doing something to make a difference.

"Rachel wanted to leave an impact on the world," said Justin Cormier, a senior at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach. "She set a chain reaction so we all volunteered."

"Everytime you commit even the smallest act of kindness you're changing someone's life for the better," Fury Thrash said, a student at Kecougthan High School in Hampton. "That's what this is all about."

Rachel's Challenge has reached 15 million students across the country.