My 10-year old niece is back in town after spending a month away in summer camp. I met her (and her mother - my sister) on the subway after they were coming home from a doctor's appointment. As we approached her home, she was re-telling some of her camp experiences when I heard her say "my shiur teacher says you're not allowed to be friends with someone who's not Jewish."
"She said what?" I repeated.
"She said that you can't be friends with someone who'se not Jewish."
Now, I know that there are all sorts of halachos that are designed to prevent intermarriage with non-Jews and that some of these halachos do have the effect of distancing Jews from non-Jews socially. And, I suppose, to some degree, that *is* a good thing. Intermarriage is a terrible calamity and positive steps should be taken to avoid it.
However, I'm not aware of any blanket prohibition against making friends among non-Jews. After all, just about everyone who has worked among non-Jews in the workplace has made friends with some of them. Of course, I can't go out to bars with them, and I can't eat at their houses, etc., but that doens't mean that they aren't my friends and that I can't count on them when they need help (and likewise, of course, they know that they can count on me).
I think it's sad that this is being taught to young kids without at least some qualifications. From the way it was described to me, it sounds like the shiur teacher was telling them that you'd better not have anything to do with "them" - or else. Sigh.