The 12-year-old said a friend has been bullied, so he’s taking the opportunity to take a stand and join his classmates and the community in taking a challenge to replace negative actions or bullying with acts of kindness and compassion.
The initiative is called Rachel’s Challenge, named for Rachel Scott, who was the first victim of the shooting tragedy at Columbine (Colo.) High School in 1999.
On Tuesday, Spring Lake Intermediate and Middle School students kicked off the program and learned about Scott. Following the students, several hundred residents and parents also accepted the challenge Tuesday night during a community rally.
Scott's parents created Rachel’s Challenge to empower communities against bullying based on an essay that Rachel wrote about performing "a chain reaction of kindness." Rachel's Challenge is a nonprofit, apolitical and nonreligious organization based in Littleton, Colo.
Rachel’s Challenge for middle school students encourages them to “be kind to others, dream big and believe in yourself, practice positive gossip, show appreciation to those you love, and be the answer.”
Galloway said he and his friends signed up to take the challenge and stick up for others being bullied.
“I’m not going to be a bystander,” the 12-year-old said. “I’m going to walk up and defend them without being physical.”
Spring Lake Middle School Principal Aaron West said he looked into the program a few years ago, but it was costly.
Community member Greg Olson and his family approached the district earlier this year about helping the schools monetarily in memory of his wife, Bonnie. The family set up the Bonnie Olson Memorial Fund to help the schools improve the way students treat each other.
For more information about Rachel's Challenge, CLICK HERE.