Father of Columbine victim addresses mental illness and violence

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The father of a Columbine victim is speaking out about mental illness awareness and violence.

This week, Trillium Health Resources launched their ‘Compassion Reaction’ campaign for mental illness awareness in our state. Although the timing of these events are not related, the father of a Columbine victim is speaking out about handling and preventing this kind of loss.

Part of the campaign is Rachel’s Challenge. The leader of Rachel’s Challenge is a dad who lost his daughter, Rachel Scott, in the Columbine shooting.

“She was kind of like a spark plug,” Scott said. “She had that Oprah Winfrey, Elvis Presley, you know that charismatic personality.”

He said Rachel used that energy to reach out to kids that were overlooked.

“She would sit with the kid that nobody was sitting with,” Scott said. “She stood up for the boy that was being bullied in the hallway.”

When Rachel was taken from him, Scott decided to channel her energy.

“It’s those stories we use and share to reach young people with,” Scott said.

Something he wants to pass on to the parents of Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

“Focus on celebrating their life,” Scott said. “That’s what we did with Rachel. We chose a path of forgiveness which was not easy. I wouldn’t have pardoned Eric and Dylan. That’s a judicial thing, but we chose to forgive, because that’s a heart issue.”

Scott did not just speak to their parents.

“But also, to some degree the parents of that young man who did this shooting as well, because they had a son that was mentally disturbed and sometimes we overlook,” Scott said. “We want to make things so black and white or so clear cut and they are not always that clear cut.

That is why he is campaigning to prevent crimes like this.

“We do need to help those children before they get to that age, before they can get a gun and do some damage to someone else,” Scott said.

Click here for more information about Compassion Reaction. 

Categories: NC, New Hanover, News

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