At President Donald Trump's listening session featuring families of school shooting victims Wednesday, the father of a teenager killed in the Columbine High School shooting emphasized the importance of a culture of connectedness to prevent teen violence and suicides.
Darrell Scott opened by thanking Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and mentioned that he almost lost his son too in the Columbine massacre.
He told the room that the Scott family started a program called "Rachel's Challenge" a year after their daughter died. They also worked on a program with Chuck Norris and his wife called "Kickstart for Kids" and other organizations to help youth.
"Our organization has reached over 28 million students in the past 19 years, and we have seen seven school shootings prevented, we see an average of three suicides prevented every single week of the year, over 150 a year," Scott said.
Scott showed off a book of letters from students that wanted to kill themselves and then shared a lesson he learned.
He then shared one principle that he says he learned while working with millions of people: "We must create a culture of connectedness."
"We must create a culture in which our classmates become our friends, and that is something we've learned to do over the years," Scott said.
Connectedness, Scott argued, is a missing piece of the conversation on mass shooters.
"Every single one of these school shootings has been from young men who have been disconnected. And we talk a lot about the mental health issues, but it actually goes deeper than this because there is a lot of mentally ill children that are kind and compassionate," Scott said.
"Because if you focus too much on diversity, you create division. If you focus on unity, you create compromise. But if you focus on relatedness, and how you relate with one another, then you can celebrate diversity and see unity take place," Scott added.
He says he's come to this conclusion through his working with students.
"I'm all for diversity, all for unity but the focus really needs to be on how can we connect and that is something that we in our organizations have learned," Scott said.
Scott finished by saying that his work has taught him how to connect students with each other, their teachers, and their parents.
He said he would love to share more in the future and thanked the president for having the event.