Bullying prevention: Lancers hit back with Mix it Up Day


Andrea Houston

Senior Riley Bruning and junior Jake Butehorn lead the students in Mix it Up Day.

by Erik Chapman, Reporter

In 2010, 2.7 million children and teens were bullied. Reportedly, some 282,000 students are victimized each month in high schools throughout the nation. About one in every 10 students drops out or changes schools because of repeated bullying, and nearly 15 percent of all students who don’t show up for school report it to be out of fear of being bullied while at school.

Four years later, bullying is still a problem. It’s disappointing that some students in our schools still get singled out and abused for their differences. It takes different forms. A bully can be someone who hits and punches or someone who spreads rumours behind their friends’ backs. A bully could be someone who’s abused at home, who might not have the best self-esteem, or someone who’s roguishly charming and confident, who surrounds himself with a large clique of friends.

Regardless of what form it comes in, bullying is problematic and has no place in our schools.

In response to bullying, schools nationwide observed October as National Bullying Prevention Month. At Linganore, a team of students and teachers worked with administration to organize a program of anti bullying lessons, culminating in an activity called Mix it Up Day–a day where students are encouraged to sit with people they don’t know at lunch.


The lessons, put together by the Linganore School Culture Committee, were taught during Monday advisement periods over the course of four weeks. According to assistant principal Mr. McWilliams, a member of the committee, the advisement lessons were “very successful.”

However, he went on to say that the quality of the lessons varied by classroom, with some advisement classes generating thoughtful discussions, and others not so much–a view corroborated by some students.

English teacher Mrs. Natalie Rebetsky said, “the jaded juniors in my advisement class were participatory, and it went well . . it wasn’t perfect, but it was a discussion.”

Some students praised the lessons as “thought-provoking,” “not exciting, but educational,” and “important.” However, not all students were a fan of them.

Sophomore Genevie Finn said, “The lessons were a joke. All it was just us hearing the same things about bullying that we’ve heard a thousand times before.”

The four lessons consisted of videos, presentations, questions, and prompts for discussion.


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Mix it Up Day


I am proud of the efforts of the SGA and the LHS administration to reduce bullying in our school. Although Mix it Up Day wasn’t perfect, it represented a positive step in the right direction.

It was inspiring that students believed so strongly in fighting bullying that they would expend the time and resources required to run Mix it Up Day, even when Homecoming must have occupied the majority of their attention.

On October 28, he cafeteria was transformed into a venue for the national Mix it Up Day. The tables were skewed, scattered all around the cafeteria. Music was hooked up to the PA system, and different colors of Lifesaver candies adorned all the tables.


Members of the SGA and Men’s Society stood by the cafeteria doors to usher the students who were given the option to choose a Lifesaver from a large bowl and then told to go to the table that corresponded to their Lifesaver’s color.

After that, Mix it Up Day was in full swing. Students talked to the people at their tables who, in theory, were total strangers. Conversation starters were taped to  each table to facilitate conversations and ensure that there weren’t any awkward silences.

Despite the morning announcements and Monday’s advisement lesson, some students didn’t know what Mix it Up Day was or why LHS was doing it.

Social Studies teacher Darren Hornbeck said,  “I think that the more people we know, the less likely we are to bully others.”

“Once you put a face to a person, you’re less likely to bully them,” said assistant principal Andrew McWilliams.

Hornbeck said, “Participation-wise, I think the students were receptive to it . . . If I had to put a number to it, maybe 15% of the students were participating, which is more than I expected. Those who did participate said they were having fun.”

Regarding participation, SGA senior class treasurer Riley Bruning said, “There needs to be more exposure . . . Have more people be excited about it. If some people get excited, then other people will get excited, like a chain reaction until everyone’s excited.”

Junior Mike Fink said, “I love people, so I love this idea. I even met a new friend. I think we could be best friends.”

Senior Shawn Verma, a Mix it Up Day student leader also said, “I love it, it’s a great idea.”

Many students, however, moved to tables with friends and some sat in the hallway to avoid Mix it Up Day.

Student complaints generally included the fact that students were resistant to change. “I already have so many friends, I don’t need any more,” said junior Stacey Faith.

“I don’t want to even go down to the lunch room.  It’s not that I am afraid, it’s just like I don’t want to talk to strangers,” said sophomore Susan Jones.

While many of the disgruntled students had similar complaints, several students had some insightful reasons for why they weren’t pleased with the event.

Senior Jackie Brinkman said, “There are plenty of people in the school who have anxiety about these sorts of situations and throwing them into an event like this is not well thought through.”

Similarly, Finn, who decided to opt out of Mix it Up Day, said, “This is so awful! All they’re doing is taking people with social anxiety and flinging them into a situation which makes them uncomfortable.”

“First off, nobody was required to participate in Mix it Up Day. Relax. . . In the end, you didn’t have to do this. . . we do encourage it though,” Mr. Hornbeck said. “It’s [the ability to socialize with people you don’t know] a great skill, for high school or college, this is something you need to know how to do.”

“It’s horrible and weird because everybody likes to sit with their friends. The whole thing is stressful!” said sophomore Erin Lafferty.

“I think we asked people to do something that may have made them uncomfortable, even though I think they knew what good could come of it if they gave it a try,” said Hornbeck.

McWilliams had a similar stance. In addition to increasing exposure to Mix it Up Day he also suggested that it should be more often. “If we do this maybe once a month, it’ll become a lot more familiar. I think we could benefit from that,” he said.

Although it was evident that Mix it Up Day was not perfect this year, the SGA, the faculty, and the administration all agree that it’ll get better the more we do it. However, in order to take Mix it Up Day to a level that we can be proud of as a school, more students and faculty need to participate in executing the event. The SGA helped out a great deal this year, almost unanimously voting to approve a plan for Mix it Up Day.

This is why we need a student body dedicated to making bullying uncool. Together, we can make LHS a national role model in the fight against bullying. We can implement this culture change. All it takes is working together.

Sometimes, that includes getting out of your comfort zone and talking to someone you may have never talked to otherwise.