Dysart Unified Schools accepts Rachel's Challenge

Posted: Updated:

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's been 14 years since two seniors opened fire at Columbine High School in Colorado killing 12 students and 1 teacher. Twenty-one others were injured that day.

But the reality is high school students today are too young to remember the horror.

"I haven't told my mom I love her today and it just made me think that something could happen," said Delaney Magnusson, a Freshman at Dysart High School.

"There is a problem with bullying everywhere not just in schools, it's everywhere," said Senior Ceyanna Trehern.

Dysart Unified Schools is the latest Valley district to accept Rachel's Challenge.

Rachel Scott was the first victim in the April 1999 shooting. And ever since, her family has worked tirelessly to change school culture, one student at a time.

"I think it became very clear, right off the bat, that one school is not an option. We really want to implement the program throughout Dysart School District," stated Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott. "I hope the single message that they come out with is that each and every one of them counts."

Superintendent of the Dysart Unified School District, Gail Pletnick, echoed that sentiment.

"By helping them connect to something that happened in the real world, I think it's going to allow them then to concentrate on those things that will make a difference and prevent that negativity from happening again," said Pletnick

Unfortunately, negativity is still impacting kids at Dysart High School. We spoke with students who admitted to being victims of bullying.

"I don't know how to explain it, I didn't feel good when it happened," Magnusson said.

"I have been bullied in the past and friends have helped, teachers but it really feels good knowing there is someone there to look out for you," Dysart High School Junior Josh Terry remarked.

At the core of Rachel's Challenge, empowering students to stop bullying. And once students accept it, the chain reaction of kindness begins.

"I think it's going to make us more united and bring out that we should really watch what we're saying because some of the things that people say at this school aren't correct and we need to embrace kindness here," Senior Karla Sanchez said.