Is Mix It Up At Lunch Day Pro-Gay?
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Thread: Is Mix It Up At Lunch Day Pro-Gay?

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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Default Is Mix It Up At Lunch Day Pro-Gay?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/us...gram.html?_r=0

    On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, schoolchildren around the country are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to.

    The program, started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center and now in more than 2,500 schools, was intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying.

    But this year, the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, has called the project "a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools" and is urging parents to keep their children home from school on Oct. 30, the day most of the schools plan to participate this year.

    The charges, raised in an e-mail to supporters earlier this month, have caused a handful of schools to cancel this year's event and has caught organizers off guard.

    "I was surprised that they completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is," said Maureen Costello, the director of the center's Teaching Tolerance project, which organizes the program. "It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic."

    The swirl around Mix It Up at Lunch Day reflects a deeper battle between the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights group founded 41 years ago in Montgomery, Ala., and the American Family Association, a Bible-based cultural watchdog organization in Tupelo, Miss. The association says its mission is to fight what it calls the "increasing ungodliness" in America.

    The law center recently added the group to its national list of active hate groups, which also includes neo-****s, black separatists and Holocaust deniers.

    Association leaders, in return, have gone on the offensive, calling the law center a hate group for oppressing Christian students and claiming its aim is to shut down groups that oppose homosexuality.

    "The reality is we are not a hate group. We are a truth group," said Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the association. "We tell the truth about homosexual behavior."

    Although the suggested activities for Mix It Up at Lunch Day do not expressly address gay and lesbian students, the law center itself promotes equal treatment for gays and lesbians and that philosophy then informs the school program, he said.

    "Anti-bullying legislation is exactly the same," Mr. Fischer said. "It's just another thinly veiled attempt to promote the homosexual agenda. No one is in favor of anyone getting bullied for any reason, but these anti-bullying policies become a mechanism for punishing Christian students who believe that homosexual behavior is not something that should be normalized."

    The program is not about sexual orientation but rather about breaking up social cliques, which are especially evident in a school cafeteria, Ms. Costello said.

    In some schools, cliques are socioeconomic. In others they are ethnic or religious or based on sexual orientation. By giving students a way to mix with other students, self-imposed social barriers can be broken down and bullying can be curbed, she said.

    "Many of the targets of bullying are kids who are either gay or are perceived as gay," she said.

    But the idea that the program is intended as homosexual indoctrination is simply wrong, Ms. Costello added.

    "We?ve become used to the idea of lunatic fringe attacks," she said, "but this one was complete misrepresentation."

    Parents who are on the American Family Association e-mail list were encouraged to keep their children home on that day and to call school administrators to tell them why.

    By Friday, about 200 schools had canceled, Ms. Costello said. But exactly why was unclear. Of 20 schools that had canceled and were contacted by The New York Times, only one chose to comment.

    The Chattahoochee County Education Center in Cusseta, Ga., canceled because teachers were too busy trying to meet basic state teaching requirements, said Tabatha Walton, the principal.

    "The decision had nothing to do with taking a position on gay rights," she said. "We support diversity."

    Although parents did complain to Kevin Brady, the head of the Avon Grove Charter School in rural Pennsylvania, the school is still planning to hold Mix it Up at Lunch Day for its 1,600 students.

    Students will each be assigned a number and then paired up by school officials. The school has a large population of special-needs students who can feel isolated and thus benefit greatly from the program, Mr. Brady said.

    The school started it a few years ago, inspired, in part, by the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and examples of bully-related violence that surfaced in schools around the country.

    He said the e-mail sent by the association described a program that had "absolutely no resemblance to what we do." Once parents understood how the program worked, they decided not keep their children home that day, he said.

    "I think they feel they have been taken for a bit of a ride," he said.
    Here is a link to the SPLC's pages about Mix It Up At Lunch Day.

    From a quick read through, it sounds like what the article says, activities designed to have kids sit with people they don't normally sit with at the lunch table, and also think about the implications of different "isms." I glanced through the activities quickly, and some did mention sexual orientation, but actually a lot more that I saw seemed to be more concerned with race and SES.

    So, is Mix It Up At Lunch Day Pro-Gay? Also, what is wrong with anti-bullying programs? Other thoughts?
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 10-15-2012 at 06:55 PM.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    What schools have time for this kind of thing at lunch? None of the schools my kids go to would have time to do all this and eat lunch too, they don't get a very long lunch period, and the classes are broken up and eat lunch at different times because they can't all fit in the cafeteria at the same time.
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    I guess I don't get the concern the AFA has (and I normally don't). Hypothetically, if I were to agree with them how does this punish Christian students...isn't their thing still "love the sinner hate the sin"?

    I think this program is an awesome idea!

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    OMG the pettiness is killing. Why can't people just let things stay simple as stated here:

    The program is not about sexual orientation but rather about breaking up social cliques, which are especially evident in a school cafeteria, Ms. Costello said.
    If I heard of this at school, it wouldn't have occurred to me to think sexual orientation. I just can't figure out what's wrong with people. I think this was a great idea to encourage children to socialize with those they'd normally not, very inclusive in fact.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    What schools have time for this kind of thing at lunch? None of the schools my kids go to would have time to do all this and eat lunch too, they don't get a very long lunch period, and the classes are broken up and eat lunch at different times because they can't all fit in the cafeteria at the same time.
    It's just one day though, not like they are doing an elaborate seating program every day of the year. I trust that if a school chooses to participate, they think they have enough time to do this thing this one day...
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    Posting Addict Rivergallery's Avatar
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    IF school is supposed to POSITIVELY socialize our children, they should be doing this in the lunchroom. They should also be having various grades/ages including adults eat together.. isn't that what we do in the real world? Why exactly are they separated by age again?.. being a be snarky here.. but really what should the goal of school be? Once you answer that they you can better determine what should be focused on.
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    Of course they have time, and I think it's a great idea to try out. At our school they do something like that for the special needs kids but it's voluntary. Other kids sign up to spend one day helping a special needs kid by being with them at lunch and recess for a day. My son was so happy for the opportunity and felt great about it.

    Mix It Up sounds like a great way to break up cliques for a day and I really can't see any reasonable objection. If they were smart the anti-gay folks would see this as an opportunity to try to get through to the gay kids to go straight. I don't endorse that at all but I don't get why they wouldn't pounce on the chance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rivergallery View Post
    IF school is supposed to POSITIVELY socialize our children, they should be doing this in the lunchroom. They should also be having various grades/ages including adults eat together.. isn't that what we do in the real world? Why exactly are they separated by age again?.. being a be snarky here.. but really what should the goal of school be? Once you answer that they you can better determine what should be focused on.
    I may be tired but I'm not sure I'm getting your point.

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    This is awesome! It reminds me of Remember the Titans when the white kid sat at the table where only black kids were stting. Coach Boone made all of the players learn about each other. Getting to know others is never a bad thing.

    As for not having time at lunch? Why would there not be time? We've done various activities through ASB where students were given a die cut with a number on it. If they could find their match and come to the ASB window during lunch, they would win a prize. They had plenty of time to eat, find their match, and claim their prize in 35 minutes.

    Promoting the "homosexual lifestyle"? I've having a hard time figuring that one out. Is it that this would promote gays meeting new people and not sticking to their own kind? Or would lunching with de gays turn others gay?

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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ethanwinfield View Post
    Promoting the "homosexual lifestyle"? I've having a hard time figuring that one out. Is it that this would promote gays meeting new people and not sticking to their own kind? Or would lunching with de gays turn others gay?
    From the article, it seems to me that they have a problem with the anti-bullying aspect of it. Maybe the AFA is scared that if straight kids sit with gay kids, they will get to know them a little bit, and will start seeing them as real people instead of just a "life style choice" to be judged and marginalized. In other words, maybe they are scared that the program will work exactly as it's supposed to.
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