CALIFORNIA – Rachel Joy Scott, the first person killed at Columbine High School two decades ago, created a legacy in her diaries that is still being heard around the world.
Her father, Darrell Scott, said his daughter also was compassionate toward others and wished to eliminate prejudice. She was murdered April 20, 1999, while eating her lunch outdoors.
“Rachel died on Hitler’s birthday,” Scott said Wednesday during an in-service day for teachers and other school professionals associated with Intermediate Unit 1.
Scott said his family decided to forgive the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed themselves after murdering a dozen children and one schoolteacher.
His son Craig was in the school library when the killers, wearing black trench coats and carrying pipe bombs, walked in and killed 10 students.
Craig Scott and two of his friends dove under a table together, and he was the only one of the three who came out alive.
The younger Scott said he heard the shooters yelling racial slurs before a black student was shot in the head with a shotgun.
One month before Rachel Scott died at 17, she wrote a two-page essay in which she expressed her desire to create a chain-reaction of kindness to span the globe. It was titled, “My Ethics, My Codes of Life.”
Her words of inspiration, including other things she jotted down in six diaries, spawned a nonprofit organization, Rachel’s Challenge, that spreads her story about creating a culture of kindness within schools and other organizations.
Scott said his program offers challenges to audiences, beginning with encouraging people to look for the best in others.
The other challenges discussed Wednesday were encouraging people to not limit dreams and let their words be soft and pleasant.