Toll takes honor for mixing it up

Toll Middle School has been identified as a model campus by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its efforts in building an inclusive culture.

It was one of 77 schools nationwide, and eight in California, to be named a “Mix It Up Model School,” a title awarded to schools that have embraced and implemented the center’s Teaching Tolerance project.

“We are delighted to recognize each of these schools,” Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello said in a statement. “Mix It Up Model Schools have found innovative ways to create a school environment where respect and inclusiveness are core values. They serve as examples for other schools hoping to instill these values in their students, faculty and staff.”

At Toll, Mix It Up Day included students gathering in the cafeteria, where they were handed airline tickets directing them to different “destinations,” or tables. There, they mixed with students that they might not otherwise have interacted with.

Staff and students also staged an anti-bullying-themed flash mob and an assembly, according to Sarah Strange, student government advisor.

She and her colleagues knew the message had set in when students began changing their Facebook profile pictures to anti-bullying slogans, she added.

“After all of their hard work, we were honored to be recognized by such a prestigious national organization as the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Strange said. “It is important to continue to educate our students on how to recognize, handle and report bullying.”

-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

Twitter: @megankoneil

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