The presentations exposed most students to the details of the 1999 Columbine tragedy for the first time, using news recordings, security camera footage and touching background music. The goal, administrators said, was to encourage random acts of kindness, which Scott had made a goal in her life.
“I felt like it was the perfect program for our school,” said PTSA President Sydney Swaiston, who first saw the presentation at a state PTA conference.
“Wilson is in an urban environment with so many different ethnicities,” she said, referring to the presentation’s emphasis on battling prejudice.
Wilson has large Latino, Asian and Armenian populations, which students said can sometimes become divided.
“There are some Armenian and Mexican [lunch] tables,” said Daniel Sarkissian, 12, explaining that such cliques are often the root causes of fights.
Arlette Aparicio, 11, said eliminating prejudice — one of the presentation’s major themes — was important, especially when it came to bullies.
“They say, ‘Oh, you’re Hispanic? I’m going to bully you,’” Arlette said.
Overall, Principal Richard Lucas said, Wilson doesn’t have many serious problems.
With the exception of a few incidents involving BB gun possession in recent years, he said, there wasn’t much cause for alarm at the school.
Nevertheless, he said it was important to encourage compassion when even a small act of kindness could change a student’s mentality.
“They are young kids, and it could affect them in a lot of different ways,” Lucas said.
Students said the presentation on Scott was important and inspiring.
Before her death, Scott had written an essay on the importance of helping others through acts of kindness that could “start a chain reaction” of compassion. She also went out of her way to make others feel included and to stop hallway fights, said presenter Erin Lackey, a friend of the Scott family.
“I really felt sad,” said Brenda Aranda, 11. “Because she was actually changing the world, and it’s not fair that they killed her.”
“It was important,” said Grey Cabrera, 11, adding that when it came to some students’ negative attitudes toward their peers, “it might make a difference for kids to change their minds.”