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2 Salt Lake County schools honored for tolerance efforts

SANDY — Two Canyons School District middle schools have received national honors for their efforts to promote tolerance and inclusiveness within the school community.

Albion and Indian Hills middle schools are the only two Utah schools to be named 2013 National Mix It Up Model Schools by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance program. Sixty-three schools nationwide received the honor.

Mix It Up Day provides students with opportunities to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice, according to Teaching Tolerance. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off a yearlong exploration of social divisions. Last year, more than 3,000 schools nationwide took part in the event.

Students at Indian Hills hosted a Mix It Up event, complete with a mariachi band. Students at Albion Middle School formed a "Thriller" flash mob, wrote acrostic poems based on the letters in Mix It Up, and found other creative ways to engage students' bodies and minds.