November 14th, 2007
08:57 PM ET

Uncliquing Cliques

I first noticed cliques at a dance in 7th grade.  Our hair was huge; we reeked of cologne; we thought Bon Jovi songs were romantic.  But there was something else I noticed:  Most of my classmates were permanently attached to small groups all around the gym.  I felt kind-of like a pinball bouncing from place to place because so many of my friends belonged to different cliques.

Thursday, we heard about a school that tried to break up cliques by requiring students to share their lunchtime with different people than usual.  Would this work for you?  If you're in a really tight group of friends, would you be willing to leave them to spend time with others?  And would people have fun or just sit quietly, wishing they were somewhere else?

Filed under: Feedback • News Coverage
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. michael

    i think schools should not have cliques because it hurts others feelings when they don't let you set at their table.

    November 15, 2007 at 1:01 am |


    November 15, 2007 at 5:26 am |
  3. Morton middle School

    Students in my 6th grade homeroom in Lexington, Ky voted on the issue of separating cliques at lunch.

    13 say it is a good idea

    13 say is a bad idea

    We are a middle school in Lexington, Ky with about 750 students.

    Mr. Russell

    November 15, 2007 at 10:21 am |
  4. Okeeheelee ESE Social Studies Class

    Thank you for the tip, maybe one day we can do this at our school.

    Another issue, we are ESE students so we have to always sit at the same table, which is not fair. We should get to sit where ever we want, but they should have all the teachers in the room to look after us more.

    November 15, 2007 at 11:34 am |
  5. Katie

    i have dealed with a lot of cliques!! i think that my school should do this also! i am a person that is wanting my school to end the cliques and bullying. SAY NO TO THE PLASTICS!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2007 at 12:51 pm |
  6. Hendrickson High School

    Jay said – "I'd miss my friends. I would feel sad & mad."

    Chris said – "I'd feel angry & happy. Happy to meet new friends. Angry because I'd be leaving my old friends to make new friends."

    Ghufran said – "I'd be happy to meet new people."

    Alberto said – "I would not want to sit with new people."

    Santiago said – "I'm very social & I'd love to meet new people."

    Javier said – "I'd like to make new friends."

    November 15, 2007 at 1:02 pm |
  7. Russian bear

    I think this is very good way to un-clique. I agree, that schools hould not have cliques because it hurts others feelings when they don’t let you set at their table, and not only the table you even can't join their crew outside. It is so mean to others. Come on people children should be together. To be lonely in the school is not good expirience for your future life. It affects child psychology and behaviour. We don't need school shooting just only because nobody likes you or something.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:05 pm |
  8. Katherine

    I agree wit it completely. I think the clique should be broken to make peaceful school. Changing the seats in the cafeteria every morning can help to beak the clique. Even though some students don't feel good, most students would welcome that teacher's method. Generally, middle school students don't establish their self -esteem until this age, so if they had chance to meet many students by their near seat, they would have wide understandings about other people and they could learn many things from other friends. I hope the teacher's idea will succeed.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:10 pm |
  9. SUN

    I really hope that this idea is going to succeed. Most students don't have enough chances to be together with various students who have different preferences and backgrounds during their school life. Students should know the way to get along well with all students. I think students can realize the importance of being together through this program. However, the one thing I am worrying is that it may end after just one time try. School should encourage the students to participate in this program eagerly.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:12 pm |
  10. Emily

    I think schools should try to stop the cliques, and if there are so many cliques. then the school will be devided into several parts. It's not good for other students too. School should be one team but not different groups. people need to work and get together.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm |
  11. woosug

    I hope that this idea is gonna work. There are many cliques in the school. Even it's in the society. Nowadays, world is getting smaller. All kinds of people live in the Earth. We should be kind each other.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:14 pm |
  12. Monalisa

    I think it's a great idea to get rid of cliquies in school. Cliques can hurt other students emotionally and socially. If students are not forced to remove social barriers like cliques, they will not try it voluatarily. It's the duty of school and teachers to guide students in a good way. In this system, students will socialize with all kinds of students and they can develop their skill to communicate with different people. However, on the other hand, lunch time is a good period to enjoy talking with close friends. Sometimes chatting is necessary for releasing stress. Students can exchange information or opinions about school and their life with close friends during lunch time and it can reduce their mental burden, which is the cause of misbehavior. Therefore, I'd like to recommend combination of mingle lunch time and free lunch time.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:18 pm |
  13. Wanjea

    I think the idea is good for breaking some cliques. But sometimes it won't work for extraordinary cases. If the students have lunch with friends who they don't like, will they like the lunch time? When the class is finished, members of cliques will come together again. I know that they are sat randomly by teacher. Some students will be influenced by teacher, but another students won't be. Therefore, I consider we need to figure out different methods to break the cliques.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:28 pm |
  14. Kentaro

    I also agree with MARILYN. Because I remember the pressure in each of my teen school years. Now I became a student again,and I can feel kind
    of this presure still.

    I think, this idea is sometimes good to promote relationships. But it's also sometimes very strict way to get a relationship. There may be advantages and disadvantages. It's just 50:50.

    November 15, 2007 at 4:44 pm |
  15. Leah

    I think that this is a great idea. We always have a day, called "Mix It Up Day" where we are assigned a table to sit with other people that we would normally never sit with. I am from a school in IL. We have a day for this each year, and it is okay, it does break down the barriers. It is a good idea.

    November 15, 2007 at 6:32 pm |
  16. Megan

    I think that schools should not have cliques.At my school, we sit in classes but even at the tables at lunch you can still see cliques.I think cliques makes some students feel like outcasts and others like they are more important.It would be better if schools tried to stop cliques and get the students to be more involved with different people.

    November 15, 2007 at 7:02 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I really don't like this idea. I mean, I know cliques are a problem and stuff, but I mean, the main reason why we have them is because of similar interests. You might not fit in with the most popular clique because of their personality, not just their cool clothes or whatever. But if you start changing around the lunch tables, that's really not fair. I usually go through the day only seeing some of my friends, and everyone admits, classes aren't fun. So when I get to lunch, I am ready for a great time catching up with my friends. It wouldn't be fair to me to miss that experiance all day for the rest of the year. I mean, I understand why loosers who aren't part of a clique would think it is a good idea because they have a possibility to end up with one of the popular kids. But it's a horror to the other kids because they already have friends that they connect with. I hate this idea.

    November 15, 2007 at 8:01 pm |
  18. kyle

    I think that it is a good concept, but it is hard to sit with kids you don't normally sit with. Some kids will have a great time making friends, but some kids may never be friends. Also, if you force people to be friends, they aren't going to try to make friends because they feel so much pressure to make friends. Some of us may have an easier time making friends than others, but we all don't want to be forced to hang out with people we will just never hang out with as long as we live.
    Some things may never change, though......but there is always at least one person out there you like to hang out with, and you can call a friend......

    November 15, 2007 at 8:11 pm |
  19. David

    I think that there shouldn't be cliques because kids should decide where they should sit because one kid might want to sit next to his/ her friend and the next day that kid can sit with a new person like a new kid.

    November 15, 2007 at 9:26 pm |
  20. Anya

    Yesterday we also did this at school. It worked really really well...at least from what I saw at the seventh grade lunch. Last year you did a show about the same thing except racial boundaries were stressed also. One thing that I noticed from that was that my school doesn't have the strict racial boundaries like other schools might and of course that is a good thing.

    November 15, 2007 at 10:33 pm |
  21. Morgan-Lee

    Hey CNN Student News!

    I have to say...last year in sixth grade we watch your show everyday. But now we're lucky to watch it once a month! So instead I watch you online....so just so you know:


    November 15, 2007 at 10:39 pm |
  22. Lainie

    I think that more schools should do this and they should try it out. You never know you might meet some person that is totally different then you thought they would be. You would learn how to make conversation and comminication skills. I hope more schools do this!

    November 15, 2007 at 11:20 pm |
  23. mia

    at our middle school we had a mix it up day .... results were not immediate.
    i am now at the high school and there are still cliques ,but they are not as prominant as before. racial barriers rarely surfae ,but they are still there. money is not an issue.... everyone sits with everyone

    every now and again a fight breaks out and people talk then it usually settles down in a week ...or two:}
    i enjoy the show in my class every day
    thanks for informing us about the world around us!!!!
    keep up the good work :]

    November 15, 2007 at 11:42 pm |
  24. laura

    Hi! I think that having cliques is a bad idea. because sitting with different grades would be weird. I just think that we should sit by our friends or something. Do you want to have a cliques ? Well bye!

    November 16, 2007 at 12:18 pm |
  25. Darnewatson

    I saw what they were doing they were puting them an random spots. If I wanted to leave my friends to meet new people I would meet the new people.

    November 16, 2007 at 12:21 pm |

    What I think about the cliques is that I wouldn't be in one. If were in one I would get out of one and make some onther friends. I would get to Know about onther people.Thats what I feel about cliques.

    November 16, 2007 at 12:25 pm |
  27. joseph

    I think our school should do that because people that are friends sit with each other and make fun of other people but they should sort them by there color they like the most. I hope they do it in my school to.

    November 16, 2007 at 12:26 pm |
  28. cristobal


    November 16, 2007 at 12:32 pm |
  29. money

    you are right Mr. Azuzf

    November 16, 2007 at 12:50 pm |
  30. jorge

    I think they shouldn't do that . Because some people mite be left out. I think it's a better idea to let them be by their friends. Thats what i think.

    November 16, 2007 at 12:56 pm |
  31. lakeitheapinkney

    I really like your student cnn report in the morning. anyways how do you get all of the news report?

    November 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm |
  32. money

    you are right Mr.Azuz.Kids are hangig out with the wrongs kids.They are also pushing old friends out or other kids out of the group .They want to hang out with the wrong crowd. I say make better decisions.

    November 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm |
  33. shay

    Hi this is Shay Mr.Azuz I think that is the most perfect idea than anything . Because you will get to know new friends , do new things ,and make better choices .
    Iknow how some people fell I get left uot all times. What do you think .

    November 16, 2007 at 12:59 pm |
  34. Terion

    Dear Mr. azusz
    I think that it is crazy that they make certain kids sit at certain tables.What do you think about that??????????

    November 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm |
  35. Juana

    Do you remmeber about the thing of the lunchroom
    that the kids feel about the changeing seats evrey
    day. If you did how did it feel for the other little kids?

    November 16, 2007 at 1:14 pm |
  36. Jennifer

    If I sat with other people that aren't my friands I would feel kind of bad and good I wil feel good because I would get to meet other people. I would feel bad because I would miss to sit with my freinds. I wiil also stay quiet while eating other people.

    November 16, 2007 at 1:16 pm |
  37. Mr. Browder

    I think one of the things overlooked is the fact that some Bon Jovi songs are romantic!

    November 16, 2007 at 2:22 pm |
  38. Mr.X

    This is one of the STUPIDEST ideas schools have ever done! My school did this and it is the worst thing ever! Schools have to face the facts that popular people will be friends with popular and nerds will be friends with nerds. I'm not trying to say that nerds will never be friends with popular people, i'm just saying that schools shouldn't interfere with the whole friend making process. This is just a way to shove "love" down your thought. Just face it, some people like being alone, and some people like to have friends, its just the way we were made. All this feelings and emotions crap should be totally be left out of schools. Why this is the stupidest thing ever is if you already have a friend at your table, then why would you talk to anyone else at the table? I will prolly be blasted for this comment but i just had to get this off my chest, I atleast some of you agree with me

    As for Carl Azuz you are the best man!

    P.S cliques will never end as long as there are people on this earth

    November 19, 2007 at 12:47 pm |
  39. Jessica


    November 20, 2007 at 1:08 pm |
  40. Ellyn

    I'm just glad I'm not in a clique. I try to avoid it as best as I can. I do have some friends who are in cliques though, and I guess i am more prone to fight with those friends than with my other friends. It's just the pressure of wanting to be popular. Who needs it?

    November 20, 2007 at 3:06 pm |
  41. Orrin

    I don't think schools should have cliques. They make people think they are better than other people for just being popular. It would be good for people to try to make friends with other people. However, it will be too hard for schools to try to eliminate them. All schools have cliques and will always have them.

    November 25, 2007 at 11:42 pm |
  42. Kelly and Jasmine

    Hey you guys!!
    I think that at my school we shouldn't do what that school because that would just cause even more cliques than there are. Let's say that you sat at a table withpeople you don't like and you take something way too far those people might just mix up what you said and spread secrets that get all around the school.

    November 26, 2007 at 7:32 pm |
  43. Anonymous

    If we had to sit in random seats in my middle school, it wouldn't work out for anybody. I only have one time a day to see my old friends, and that is lunch. I don't have a clique; I hang out with all my friends whenever I want to. If that WERE to happen, I would try to make trouble in the cafeteria and get a lot of people rilled up. But sure, really tight cliques are bad, but if you don't let the kids figure it out on their own, they won't know how to function as proper human beings.

    November 30, 2007 at 9:25 am |
  44. ashley d

    If our school tried the separation of tables then the there would be complete craziness. Our school doesn’t really have many cliques I mean, people have a group of friends that they typically hang out with but it’s not like if someone comes up to us w3e’re going to say “your not one of us go away!” Maybe at other schools it would be like that but not here. If we did the table switch everyone would probably make new friends.

    November 30, 2007 at 10:26 am |
  45. Joseph from Mr.Mayer's class

    I think stitching tables is a good thing, just not for my school. I would love to do that, it's just the fact that we only have 105 students in our school (our school goes from pre-k to 8th grade, and pre-k through 4th have lunch at a different time than us). My school doesn't have cliques, well we have it that each grade has two or three tables and sits only in that area ( Lunch lady's rule). My class, like all the other classes has it that boys sit a one table and girls at another. Within this table (this table is made of two tables put together) we have two cliques. I sit in the middle everyday and notice that if one person sit on one side of the table, the side he usually doesn't then everyone from that side of the table sits by him, so in a way my school does have cliques, but we all play together. So we might have cliques at lunch, but at recess we all play together.

    Thanks for listening...

    December 3, 2007 at 9:29 pm |
  46. Elizabeth C.

    I think it’s a good idea to help the problem of cliques in school. Lots of people feel bad when they don’t hang around with the most popular or coolest group of kids. Some kids fell that just because their in a “popular” clique that they can pick on kids that aren’t in it. I think that you can have friends that are in your “clique” and be friends with others that are outside of it. Schools should defiantly do something to help stop cliques.

    December 4, 2007 at 2:26 pm |
  47. Blair

    I think that the schools idea was great, but I don’t think that it would work with our school. It is a good idea because it let’s people get to know different people than they normally hang out with. It is also a great way to get to know everyone in your school, because you don’t see everyone by just walking in the hallway. I like to meet new people, but if we tried this system in our school I think that people would just sit back, and not say anything. I think it would be better if instead of just handing out random letters the teachers could make a list for each table. That way they could make sure that the same people wouldn’t get the same letters everyday, and that there would be an even amount of boys and girls at each table. Overall I think the idea was worth a try, and I hope it worked out for them.

    December 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm |
  48. b

    No it wouldn't. People would get made fun of.

    December 4, 2007 at 2:30 pm |
  49. Natalie

    At my old school, for one week per kid, our science teacher made us sit at different tables. I was the first one to get moved and to be honest with you, it did nothing. As soon as that week was up I just moved right back to my old table. It’s not that I was being mean, it just that they weren’t friends with me and so they didn’t really talk to me, so I just moved back to my old table. Maybe this would work at other school but it didn’t work at ours.

    December 4, 2007 at 2:36 pm |
  50. sophie

    this is so stupid. the reason why we have cliques is because we dont want to meet other people. some of us are happy with the only close friends we have. and im sure that in some schools is different, for example, it could be very cliquey and everybody hates everybody but its different in our school (Cooper Middle School in McLean, Virginia), i have close friends, then best friends, then friends, then distant friends that i just say hi to in the hallway then everybody else that i know and im friendly with i say hi or give them a quick hug. I think trying to unclique students may cause more cliques because when you get to know people you never knew before and maybe you dont like them, your just nothing a like or the other person isnt friendly, you will try to get your other friends back and exclude them, kind of like revenge. kids are kids and i dont think you can change this until high school. i have 3 older siblingas and they tell me that in high school, everything kind of unwinds. theres no more of that drama (except for some minor drama). just leave us a lone!

    December 4, 2007 at 2:40 pm |
  51. heather

    I prefer to call them groups… I haven’t noticed any kind of cliques at my school… there more like groups of people who have things in common. We all like to be able to talk about things we know, but we can’t do that if all the people around us don’t know what were talking about. Like me and my friends like to talk about funny things that have happened to us and show we watch or sites we’ve gone to, but my friend in another group likes to talk about fashion…
    It would be fun to have that happen at our school. I think it would work. I myself probably wouldn’t really talk to anyone unless somebody talks to me but I’m sure that other people would talk…

    December 4, 2007 at 2:45 pm |
  52. Victoria!

    I am sorry to say it but cliques are every where!!! Just deak with them!!! You can't get away from them! The people who complain about them are usually not in a group, thats why they are complaining but you know what they are not only cliques they are friends!! And to break up cliques is to break up friends!!

    February 5, 2008 at 2:56 am |