11/11/2003

Thousands of Schools Prepare for National Mix It Up Day

Six thousand schools from all 50 states, representing grades K-16, are scheduled to participate in the 2nd annual National Mix It Up at Lunch Day on Tuesday, November 18.

The Mix It Up program supports student efforts to identify, question and cross boundaries of diversity in their schools and communities. On National Mix It Up at Lunch Day, students will answer a simple charge: step out of their cafeteria comfort zones, take new seats and meet new people.

"National Mix It Up Day invites students and teachers to take a fresh look at the social boundaries that exists in their schools and provides an opportunity to do something about them," Kelvin Datcher, Director of Teaching Tolerance, said.

A 2002 Mix It Up survey showed that a majority of middle and high school students believed their schools are "quick to put people in categories," and almost half of respondents admitted that they had rejected someone from outside their own social group.

"Social boundaries like these can create divisions and misunderstandings in our schools, but students and their adult allies can help form safe, welcoming schools," said Datcher. "The goal of Mix It Up is to help make that possible."

Schools interested in participating in Mix It Up at Lunch Day on November 18 are encouraged to visit www.mixitup.org to download free activity booklets, posters, brochures and other resources. More than 50,000 items have been downloaded from the website this year.

Mix It Up is sponsored by two Center projects — Teaching Tolerance — and by the Study Circles Resource Center.

The Newspapers in Education program also is supporting Mix It Up this year through distribution of a special newspaper tabloid to students across the U.S.