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Columbine Dad Says School Prayer is Answer to Violence, Not Gun Control

Columbine Dad Says School Prayer is Answer to Violence, Not Gun Control
By Jerry Miller
CNS Correspondent
29 May, 2000

Portsmouth, NH (CNSNews.com)- The father of a 17-year-old student, murdered during the massacre at Columbine High School, contends gun control is not the answer to the problem of school violence.

Darrell Scott, father of slain Columbine student Rachel Scott, said the real answer lies in the "freedom of religious expression" in the nation's schools, a freedom he contends government at all levels has worked overtime to eliminate. "There is a God, despite the fact this government has prohibited worship in the schools."

Scott, on a nationwide speaking tour, spoke during the weekend to a gathering at the Portsmouth Music Hall. Since June 1999, the 51-year old Louisiana native has delivered more than 200 talks in 130 communities in 48 states. He and Rachel's mother, Beth Nino, from whom he is divorced, have also written a book titled "Rachel's Tears," which was released April 20, 2000, on the first anniversary of the Columbine blood bath.

"Why are we afraid of looking in the area of free religious expression, when that might offer solutions," to the issue of school violence and other concerns facing youngsters, Scott asked.

As for the separation of church and state, which opponents of school prayers cite, in their opposition to school-based worship, Scott said it's not part of the Constitution. "People have been brainwashed about this...it's not in the Constitution."

While insisting he is not opposed to the use of gun safety locks or other measures, which will prevent school violence, Scott, the father of five, added, "Laws aren't going to stop the violence. It's idiotic to think that guns are responsible for my daughter's death. A young man was responsible for her death.

"The world we have created in America, helped lead to my daughter's death," he insisted. "Gun control is not the solution. It's not the answer...to say that will prevent Columbine's from happening is ridiculous."

Scott said many of the nation's schools mirror the broader culture, a culture in which he said, "anything goes, everything goes."

Asked why he gave up his job as vice president of a food service company, to speak on this issue, Scott responded, "It's a sense of fulfillment. I'm carrying on my daughter's legacy. She wanted to make a difference...she's doing it through her life, death and writings. I'm not doing this for therapy or healing."

In fact, Scott admits he doesn't like to deal with the feelings left by the tragedy, which was caused by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two Columbine student-shooters, who, in a matter of minutes, snuffed out more than a dozen lives. Asked about his feelings over the loss of his 17 year-old child, Scott responded, "You can't answer that. First, I don't want to and second, you can't. It's not fully describable. I don't get into feelings. There's too much positive to focus on."

Asked how he responds when he hears the names of the two killers, Scott said, "I feel for their families and pray for their families. My heart goes out to their families and it did from the very beginning."

Scott said the killing brought him and his former wife, the child's mother, closer together. "The sting of it (the shootings) has already ended, but I don't think the grieving will ever end." In a way, Scott also considers himself somewhat lucky, since a son, Craig, was in the school's library when Harris and Klebold entered and began shooting.

Citing what he called "the lack of spiritual influence" in the nation's schools," Scott said, "If you remove religious principles from education, it will breed immorality and that's what's happened."
Scott characterized the presence of "cops and metal detectors," in schools as "more band-aids," and added, "God has the ability to change lives."

Speaking of his daughter's "mission," about which she wrote in her diaries - to help the handicapped, children who are picked on in school and new arrivals to the school - and the "code of ethics she lived by," Scott said, "I challenge young people to pick up her torch, because she can't do it any more."

Next month, during an appearance in Washington, DC at the National Press Club, Scott said he will unveil the "Acts of Kindness" campaign, in honor of his daughter. "It's a call to commitment from young people, who want to make a difference. I want to encourage young people to make a difference in schools and to give kindness an opportunity to make a difference in life," said the father. "Passing laws will not prohibit violence."

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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
"You seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all contitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy... The Contitution has erected no such single tribunal." --Thomas Jefferson, 1820

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