Oct. 29, 2013 03:10

The 12th annual National Mix It Up at Lunch Day, sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project, encourages students to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for just one day.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - More than 40 Louisiana schools are expected to participate Tuesday in a program aimed at teaching tolerance among students.

The 12th annual National Mix It Up at Lunch Day, sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project, encourages students to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for just one day. Organizers say cafeterias are the focus because that's where a school's social boundaries are most obvious.

Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello says breaking down those barriers can help reduce bullying.

The project began in 2002 as a way to foster respect and understanding among students. A total of 41 schools statewide are involved with the project, while more than 6,000 are expected to participate across the nation.

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