Bay High students learn anti-bullying lesson in cafeteria - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bay High students learn anti-bullying lesson in cafeteria

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BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

Lunch time at Bay High School took on an anti-bullying theme Tuesday. Instead of dining with their friends, club members, or classmates, the students sat with people they don't normally hang out with at school. The event can break down barriers and foster new friendships.

The cafeteria at Bay High School turned into a big anti-bullying experiment.

"The cafeteria is always the most divided area of the school. We break ourselves up with whether it be through racial lines, social economic, or different interests," said Jeremy Grubbs.

Grubbs is the Advisor of the Bay High Future Educators Association, which sponsored "National Mix-It-Up-At-Lunch Day" Tuesday.

Students were allowed to wear different colored clothes, instead of their school uniforms. They had no idea why, until they lined-up for lunch. They were told to sit with other students who were wearing the same shirt color.

"These are just students that see each other every day, but they might not necessarily talk to each other," said Grubbs.

"Mix It Up Day" is designed to promote tolerance and reduce prejudice.

To help break the ice, students asked each other questions that were placed at each table.  Some examples of questions were: What's your favorite holiday and do you have a pet?

Shkeele McDowell sat at the "red" table with three other teens.

"It's actually a pretty good exercise to do, because I really don't know them.  But they're actually really cool to hang out with," said senior Shkeele McDowell.

"They're all really nice. I've never talked to any one of them before, but it's a good way to step out of the box and meet new people," said sophomore Cassidy Compretta.

"These people are really great. I'd probably hang out with them all the time if I had the chance," said sophomore Ryan Denley.

When asked if she made some new friends, senior Hope Taylor replied, "Yes, I think I'll be saying 'Hey' and hanging out a few times."

For one day, they learned that status, looks, even disabilities don't matter.

"When we break down barriers, we learn from each other and there's not going to be as much bullying," said Grubbs. "When we recognize our differences and we know the similarities are greater than our differences, bullying won't exist."

On Thursday, during their Advisory Class, the students will share the lessons they learned from the experience.

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