School children in Alabama and across the country are encouraged to branch out from their normal group of friends and sit with somebody different at lunch.
The Southern Poverty Law Center's teaching tolerance project is sponsoring Mix It Up at Lunch Day Tuesday to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones and sit with someone with whom they wouldn't normally socialize.
At least 90 schools in Alabama are participating in the program.
SPLC officials say that by sitting with someone new at lunch students can break down the barriers between various groups, meet new people and build an inclusive and welcoming school.
Each school sets its own agenda and theme of the day. Some schools use the event to kick off a year-long study of social divisions.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.