REAL HEROES. These teens chose to SPEAK UP, preventing violence and possible deaths and injuries at their schools. Read their stories below.
"In all my years at school, I never imagined that in one instant I would have to make a choice between either becoming a snitch for one moment, or to put others first and be a hero for a lifetime."
January 8, 2002 started out like any other day for Kelly. She was walking to fifth period with her friends when they began to talk secretly about something that occurred earlier that morning. After making her swear not to tell, Kelly's friend revealed that a boy both girls had known since middle school had a gun at school and had given it to another boy who said he planned to use it either that day or that night.
At first Kelly thought someone else would report it, but no one did. Nothing happened during lunch or the next period and Kelly became more nervous thinking at any second she would hear gunshots in the halls. She decided to put aside her promise not to tell and do something about it.
Kelly went to go see the School Resource Officer (SRO) and told her that someone had a gun at school. Thanks to Kelly, no one got hurt. Within 30 minutes that gun had been confiscated and the two boys arrested. Though Kelly struggled with the decision she did the right thing and kept everyone safe.
Celia was 16 when she met Andrew in an online music chat room. She was disturbed by the "negative messages" he was writing. Andrew told her that he had no friends and was being harassed by bullies at his school. He also claimed he was going to shoot a female police officer at his school who had previously arrested him for possession of a stolen golf cart.
"He started getting really specific about what he was going to do and what he had," said Celia. "He told me where he had his weapons. He gave me his name and address. Who would do that?"
Celia saved the conversation and told her father, who got the police involved. Andrew was arrested after police discovered stolen rifles, including an AK-47 assault rifle, bomb-making devices, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and hunting knives at his family's home. Celia's courage undoubtedly helped to save lives.
Matt was a senior at Green Bay East High School in Wisconsin in 2006. One of Matt's friends became depressed after his girlfriend broke-up with him. The friend tried to kill himself and was placed on suicide watch.
Matt and his friend were walking home from school the next day when Matt's friend revealed that he and another friend were going to end it all at the school. When Matt asked, "like Columbine?" the friend answered with a chilling "exactly."
Matt was faced with a difficult decision – tell on his friends or let a terrible tragedy occur at his school. Matt decided that he couldn't bear attending classmates' funerals, knowing he could have prevented it. Matt chose to speak up; he went to a staff member and told what he knew. Authorities later removed various guns, ammunition, bombs and suicide notes from one of his friend's homes. Because of Matt's brave decision, a terrible tragedy was prevented.