Sunday, December 11, 2011

Taft Middle School Students "Mix It Up" at Lunch

Taft Middle School Students Changing habits can be tough for anyone, but students at Taft Middle School chose to break out of their comfort zones and “Mix It Up” at lunch to bring attention to the epidemic of bullying.

Students participated in a nationwide “Mix It Up at Lunch Day” activity Nov. 18 where they were asked to sit in a different place and with different individuals than they typically do at lunchtime. This national campaign, launched by the organization Teaching Tolerance a decade ago, encourages students to identify, question, and cross social boundaries.

Taft Middle School’s lunch court was rearranged and specially decorated for the event. Every student was randomly grouped using colorful wristbands with letters to identify which group they would sit with at lunch. Students got their lunch and joined their assigned table, each having a student leader/facilitator, and were encouraged to engage in conversations with those at their table to discover what they had in common with one another. The event concluded with music and group dances like the Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, and Y.M.C.A.

“This is one of the many ways Taft Middle School is trying to address the epidemic of bullying,” said Principal Mike George. “It was truly an amazing sight to see our students “Mix It Up.”
For several days leading up to the lunchtime event, students were involved in lessons during their first period classes that fostered thinking about concepts such as differences/similarities, isolation, prejudice and “isms,” among other topics. According to Teaching Tolerance, studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. When students interact with those who are different from them, biases and misperceptions can fall away.

The event was sponsored by the PBIS committee and ASB.

For additional information, contact Vice Principal Lynn Ryan at 858-496-8245 or