DCSS educators take on Rachel's Challenge

Northside Elementary Teacher Christopher Jones. / Jessica Fairley

The father of Rachel Scott, the first student killed during the Columbine shooting back in 1999, arrived in Albany on Thursday to present a challenge and make a difference.

Darrell Scott motivated the crowd by stating, "You can start a chain reaction," and that's what local teachers say they are prepared to do. After hearing the life and death story of the Columbine shooting victim, they said it's time for a change.

"There are so many things that we will be able to go back to our school and do and implement this year as far as it relates to giving students support," said Sylvester Road Elementary Assistant Principal Patricia Greene.

Before the school doors open in August, teachers and staff for the Dougherty County School System said they want to make sure they're on one accord. They said by doing this they'll be better able to help the students.

"The main thing is really redefining the culture," said Dougherty County Teacher of the Year Christopher Jones.

Jones, a teacher at Northside Elementary School, said during the meeting he absorbed as much as he could. He said by coming together, the teachers have a greater chance of making a difference.

"In order to provide and bring some things back home to the students, we as teachers must be receptive of the material and make sure that we can actually incorporate into our school's culture," said Christopher Jones.

Darrell Scott said the challenge not only reaches out to schools but the community as a whole. He says the program is a proven success.

"We've seen over 450 suicides prevented over the last 24 month and these are from students who email us and tell us that they were planning to take their lives when our program came to their school," said Rachel's Challenge Creator Darrel Scott.

Scott said the program is based on his daughter's story, a true story and he's a firm believer that like movies, stories change lives.