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Columbine Father Created ‘Rachel’s Challenge’ For Safer Schools

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DENVER (CBS4) – Some Coloradans have been revisiting painful memories of the tragedy at Columbine High School but using them to try to move forward.

The father of one of the students killed at Columbine is working to prevent school violence in his daughter’s memory. He also has some advice for the people living in Newtown, Conn.

The tragedy in Connecticut is all too familiar for the parents of students who lost their lives in the Columbine shootings 13 years ago. They share the same horror and pain.

“It does get easier with time,” Darrell Scott said.

Scott lost his daughter Rachel that horrific day back on April 20, 1999. Today, Scott works to prevent school violence.

“We have a program called ‘Rachel’s Challenge’ that reaches about three million students a year, and we believe that we are a prevent program, but we’re not a crisis intervention program,” Scott said.

Still, Scott believes that his program works. In the past he’s seen it stop similar school shootings.

“We have seen seven schools shootings prevented over the last few years. We’ve seen over 500 suicides prevented,” Scott said. “We have 54 presenters who go into schools from kindergarten all the way through college, and we have 28 different programs, and we do trainings, we do assemblies.”

Scott hopes to prevent other parents from feeling the pain he felt losing his daughter Rachel. It’s a pain that will never go away completely.

“There are still days. If anyone’s lost a child you know you never completely heal from that, but those initial months and the first year or two are by far the worst.”

He encourages parents of the Sandy Hook students who were killed to lean on those close to them for support.

“They really need their family and friends right now. They’re going to go through several stages beginning with shock and disbelief and a certain amount of anger,” Scott said. “There’s just a whole gambit of emotions, but what they need the most is just family and friends right now.”

Rachel’s Challenge has reached students all over the country. For more information, visit the Rachel’s Challenge website.

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