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Jackson students Mix It Up during lunch

May 04, 2016 | Community Relations
Sometimes a lunch is more than just a meal.

Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has named Jackson Elementary as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among its students and throughout its campus during the 2015-16 school year.

Jackson is one of only 91 schools to receive the honor and are featured on the Center’s website, www.tolerance.org.

Jackson’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day was all about school spirit—college spirit, that is! With the theme “Mix It Up: The College Edition,” students sat at tables according to different college pennants. Organizers kept the vibe going with entertainment from the Foster High School drum line and a visit from "Swatson," the mascot for the Sugar Land Skeeters,

“We are delighted to recognize all the Jets at Jackson,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “The Model Schools don’t just pay lip service to the values of respect and inclusion. They went above and beyond to provide students an opportunity to get to know their classmates and to maintain a sense of unity. Other schools hoping to have a similar impact can look to these Model Schools for guidance and inspiration.”

Mix It Up Model Schools met five criteria: They each hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day during the 2015-16 school year; they included different members of the school’s community—cafeteria staff, aides, administrators, teachers and students—in organizing the event; they followed up with at least two additional Mix It Up-related programs or events on campus; they publicized Mix It Up at Lunch Day or celebrated inclusiveness with posters, announcements and other media; and their event was seen by students and school officials as a success. 

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a simple call to action. By asking students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch, the event encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off yearlong explorations of social divisions. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., is a nonprofit civil rights organization that combats bigotry and discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy.  For more information, see www.splcenter.org.