Teaching Tolerance Launches 12th Annual National Mix It Up At Lunch Day

Oct 29, 2013, 10:40 ET from Southern Poverty Law Center

More than 6,000 Schools to Observe Annual Anti-Bullying Event

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance program will launch the 12th annual National Mix It Up at Lunch Day today with more than 6,000 schools expected to participate nationwide. The event encourages students to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for just one day.

"We are delighted that thousands of schools across the country are participating in National Mix It Up at Lunch Day this year," said Maureen Costello, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project, which sponsors the event. "More and more educators are recognizing that Mix It Up is a fun and effective way to break down social and racial barriers and help their students see how much they have in common with their classmates."

As of today, 6,122 schools have registered to participate in Mix It Up, which is held in conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Month. The program was launched by Teaching Tolerance in 2002 to foster respect and understanding among students.

Cafeterias are the focus of the program because that's where a school's social boundaries are most obvious. Many schools are planning similar barrier-busting activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off yearlong explorations of social divisions.

Last year, students at Albion Middle School in Sandy, Utah, organized a campus-wide flash mob for their Mix it Up at Lunch Day. In Illinois, students at Palatine High School planned a three-day extravaganza called "Lunchapalooza." In addition to getting to know their classmates, students performed karaoke, danced and shared other talents.

A map showing the number of schools participating in each state this year can be viewed at: http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/map.

Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. It produces and distributes tools at no cost to teachers, including Teaching Tolerance magazine, online curricula and professional development resources, and multimedia teaching kits that introduce students to various civil rights issues.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.

SOURCE Southern Poverty Law Center