ASHWAUBENON - One local high school's efforts to try to stop bullying and teen suicides are drawing on experiences from a national tragedy 14 years ago.
Pioneer elementary teacher Brenda Conradt brought her own children to Ashwaubenon High School to learn more about what she considers a serious problem.
“Bullying is like a number one priority right now in our district. We take it very seriously and it's something all kids deal with one way or another,” said Conradt.
Her son Bailey is in eighth grade. The Wisconsin Anti-Bullying Center reports that's one of the most vulnerable years for bullying. Bailey says he tries to stand up for himself and others.
“It’s really hard to do because sometimes you can get threatened and stuff like that,” he said.
Administrators say they want students to treat each other more kindly.
That's where Rachel's Challenge comes in.
It was started by the family of Rachel Joy Scott.
The 17-year-old was the first victim killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
Ashwaubenon schools brought in Rachel's uncle to share his niece's story.
“Out of her life and her story comes these five challenges that I'm going to be sharing tonight about how to eliminate prejudice from your life and simply look for the best in others,” said Scott.
Some of the students at Ashwaubenon High School took it a step further beyond accepting Rachel's challenge. They've also formed a group called Friends of Rachel to help combat bullying at their school.
“This is a more proactive, positive, approach to things that come up in teenagers lives. Whether it be the bullying, the teen suicides, etcetera. This program does just that,” said Bachman.
And students told us they believe they're up for the challenge.
“I think that kids can make the difference. It's not just all the educators and the parents and all the adults, this is focused around the kids,” said Conradt.
More than half of whom say they have at least seen bullying at school.
Rachel's Challenge says it has reached more than 2 and a half million students nationwide in the last 14 years.
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