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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Segregation and school lunches



Cafe_2 Let's admit it: Even in statistically integrated schools, kids of different racial, ethnic and income backgrounds tend to congregate with each other, especially in the lunchroom. In an effort to do a little something about that, more than two dozen schools in the Tampa Bay area will be among 10,000 nationwide that are participating tomorrow in something called Mix It Up At Lunch Day.

Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the event is an effort to get kids to step outside of their racial, ethnic and other cliques – and learn from what they find. In the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that will push more schools towards re-segregation, the social implications are worth a little more consideration, no?

In Pinellas, Dixie Hollins High is likely to go from very diverse (25 percent black) to not-so-diverse (less than 5 percent black, according to one district projection) in coming years. "Our kids would miss the diversity," said Deb Fabrizio, an assistant principal at Dixie. "Something would be lacking in their everyday interactions."

On the other hand, if the social positives of integrated schools are so obvious, why is there a need for Mix It Up At Lunch Day?

- Ron Matus and Donna Winchester, Times staff writers
(Times file photo, Land O'Lakes High School, 1998)

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:26am]


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