Columbine survivor visits Gulfport High students
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Columbine shooting survivor Craig Scott spoke to students at Gulfport High School on Tuesday.
Since surviving that fateful day of April 20, 1999, Scott has dedicated his life to creating a culture of love and kindness in schools across the nation.
“I share about being in the middle of a Columbine shooting and having friends killed next to me,” Scott told WLOX. “There were 10 kids killed around me and losing my sister and going from a really broken place to becoming whole again.”
The shooters spared Scott’s life in the library, but his sister was the first shot dead.
After battling depression, grief, anger and more over the next few years, he said he eventually healed and ultimately forgave the gunmen.
“Sometimes we’re just too self-focused,” Scott said. “If we’re down and disconnected, we need community and we need to sometimes step out for other people. Think about others, and that will help us get out of that funk.”
Now, he is challenging students to create chain reactions of kindness.
He urges them to focus on positive things in life because, “what you place your attention on, you give power to.”
“It was really powerful. I just, I pray that it reached a lot of people’s hearts,” Gulfport High senior Brooklynn Montana said. “Every day I pray before I get to school that I stay safe and that everybody else stays safe and that it never crosses anybody’s mind.”
Romy Hall discovered Scott’s empowerment program online.
She rounded up local sponsors to make his visit to the Coast happen, including Capt. Matt Haley with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, Gulfport Behavioral Health System and Chillville Creamery.
“It was a very ambitious dream, but I wanted him to go to all the schools and promote kindness and compassion,” Hall said. “It’s emotional. It’s impactful. It makes you think. It makes you feel. And it makes you look at your neighbor and think, ‘I need to be nice to you.’ You know, ‘I need you to be nice to me.’”
The assembly was followed by training exercises for both teachers and students.
Scott is set to speak Wednesday at the Police Academy in Biloxi from 11 a.m. until noon.
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