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posted: 10/26/2012 1:07 PM

Blackhawk Middle School program aims to teach tolerance

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By Terry Ryan
Bensenville Elementary District 2

Blackhawk Middle School students in Bensenville will participate in a national Mix It Up at Lunch program Monday, Oct. 29, as part of the school's anti-bullying and teaching tolerance program.

Mix It Up at Lunch is a nationwide program launched by Teaching Tolerance, a nonprofit organization for educators, as a way for students to break down social barriers.

According to the Teaching Tolerance website, surveys have shown students believe social barriers are most clearly drawn in the cafeteria during lunch.

"We are participating this year in an effort to celebrate diversity, teach tolerance and break down social barriers," said teacher Nancy Barca, who is organizing the schoolwide project.

The program ties in with an anti-bullying club the middle school students formed last year, United Against Bullying. Club members are helping promote the event.

During Mix It Up Lunch, students will be seated by birth month and given conversation starter questions. In the week leading up to the lunch, students discussed what makes them feel left out or when they have been a victim of or witnessed intolerance. Each student then wrote an example on a red paper "brick."

The bricks will be displayed on a wall in the cafeteria, and during Mix It up Lunch, the students will be allowed to tear down one brick at a time to symbolize demolition of social barriers.

Students will reflect on the experience on Tuesday during class.

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