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Racism row erupts at Italian school

A racism row has erupted at a high school located in the outskirts of the northern Italian city of Milan.

world Updated: Dec 04, 2009 00:37 IST

A racism row has erupted at a high school located in the outskirts of the northern Italian city of Milan.

According to the Italian daily La Repubblica, several 13-year-old students refused to sit next to Chinese students because they said they “stink”.

Faculty members at the Trilussa school, in the area of Quarto Oggiaro, have made a decision and ordered students to change their seats every 15 days to overcome the racist attitude.

“To see the classroom divided into ‘neighbourhoods’ was painful. Now the students will have a chance to get to know each other,” said Italian teacher Adele Moroni, who teaches a class that includes nine foreign students, out of a total of 22.

The Italian students reportedly complained that the Chinese “do not pay their taxes”, “they steal our jobs” and are “different than us”. The school has informed the parents of 13 children about episodes of “intolerance against non-Italians”.

According to Moroni, the school is implementing a new strategy of integration and although they are only “at the beginning” they have already heard “moving” testimony from other students.

Moroni said that integration had been difficult for five Chinese students who arrived at the school this year.

“It is absurd that children are racist in 2009. We will go forward with the seat changes until we have overcome the challenge,” he said.