Students all over the country will participate in learning about different cultures, different groups, cliques, races or ethnicity as they gather for lunch. This challenge to social boundaries is part of the annual "Mix It Up At Lunch Day," sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organizers hope that many of the prejudices and biases kids are brought up with will fall away when they meet new people.
Social scientists have long maintained that contact between diverse groups helps alleviate tensions and reduce prejudice. Mix It Up seeks to break down the barriers between students and improve intergroup relations so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment.
Many experts agree: Students thrive both socially and academically in schools that are inclusive. Yet, a look at recent headlines about bullying, cyberbullying and a lack of civility and empathy confirms that for too many students, schools are hotbeds of exclusion. South Florida has been in the national headlines almost monthly with reports on the two teens in Broward County that were nearly bullied to death.
Both Michael Brewer and Josie Lou Ratley are no longer victims, they are survivors. They are the voice and the example that teens, no matter how badly are beaten, can stand-up to bullies. As Josie Ratley is struggling with her own speech due to brain damage, she is diligently working towards recovery and continues her fight on a daily basis. Michael Brewer is recovered after being burned over two-thirds of his body, and painfully enduring months of physical therapy.
Isn't it time South Florida became one of the leaders in teaching tolerance and acceptance in our schools and communities?
Whether you are in Broward, Dade or Palm Beach County, sign your school up for National Mix it Up Lunch Day! Register here. Are you outside of South Florida? No problem, our country needs to get in the groove and learn to Mix it Up nationwide - click here to sign your school up today!
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Sources: Connect with Kids, Teaching Tolerance