By Sarah Garrecht Gassen
Students at Davis Bilingual
Magnet Elementary School are learning one-on-one
that boys aren't always yucky, girls don't
always like weird stuff and it's good to make
Davis students are participating
in "Mix It Up At Lunch," which is organized
through Tolerance.org, a part of the Southern
Poverty Law Center. Students who are in the same
grade or classroom but don't normally hang out
together are paired up by their teacher and eat
lunch and do something together at recess for a
The students then write about
their experiences in journals.
"It was very hard, because the
first day my partner said her muscles were sore
so we couldn't play a game," said fourth-grader
Teo Ufford-Chase. "We talked, but we didn't know
what to say or to talk about."
Girls and boys don't always play
together at recess, students said.
"When girls hang out with boys,
other kids call them boyfriend and girlfriend
and that's annoying," Teo explained. "And girls
like to play different games than boys."
Not necessarily true, according
to Isabel Orozco, 9. She was paired with
"He's kind of hard to talk to
because I don't really talk to boys that much,"
Isabel said. "I learned that boys like football
and flag football. I like flag football."
The common interest won
admiration from Francisco.
"She likes to play boy sports,
like football, and some girl games like
'popcorn' and dodgeball and tag," he said. "We
practiced violin, too."
Many of the students at Davis
Bilingual know each other through classes, but
they may be in different social groups at lunch
or during recess, said school counselor Teresa
Toro. Davis students can spend their free time
after lunch playing outdoors or practicing
"You have to learn how to get
along and find common ground with other people,"
Toro said. "You can't be together as a group
because you're boys or girls or one color."
Third-grader Adriana Dalton
paired up with Gisela Ochoa, 8.
"She really likes to play cartoon
tag," Adriana said. "You become friends by
Gisela's mom, Griselda Ochoa,
said she's glad to see her daughter branch out.
"One of the things that really
surprised me was that she was upset she wasn't
able to play with her regular friend, and at the
beginning it was a little hard for her, but
after the second or third day she really enjoyed
it, she would plan for it and what they would do
at lunch," Griselda Ochoa said.
Fourth-grader Karen Denogean
spent her lunch periods with Tiffany Rivera and
Nathan Bacal. "I don't really hang out with them
because Tiffany always goes to play guitar and
Nathan always hangs out with his twin brother,"
Karen said. "I learned if Tiffany wants to go to
guitar I can go with her and with Nathan I can
invite his brother to play."
Tiffany said the group decided
together what to do.
"I think it's really cool because
I never thought it would be really fun to play
with a boy," she said.