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60 case studies have been identified. The case studies focus on intercultural issues, integration, non-discrimination values and human rights at school.

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An Iraqi Student's Integration Problems


Name of the teacher
Denise Averna
Subject taught:


Name of the School:
Institut Marie-Thérèse
School Typology:
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School, Vocational School
Web site:


Background and Context:
Institut Marie-Thérèse is attended by 1.400 students. This school includes a large number of nationalities. It is located at the heart of a multicultural area in a process of revitalisation. It aims to integrate newly-arrived immigrant students.
Factual Description:
In 2015-2016, in the context of the refugee crisis in Europe, the school enrols in first year a young Iraqi student (12-13). He comes from a centre for asylum seeker who are expecting a reply, or entered illegally.
Since he speaks little French, he joins a class while attending the “FLE” (French as a foreign language) class four hours per week, which will help him integrate and succeed at school.

In class, the boy quickly loses the thread. He is distracted because he does not understand the exercises. He grows dissipated and disturbs the class.

In the schoolyard, he cannot stand still and has inappropriate behaviours:
• Towards girls, who he chases and tries to have physical contact with (without actual petting). The boy does not know the notion of respect of women as it is understood here. Several girls complain.
• Towards boys, who he easily hits. Several boys also complain.
He is a disruptive, brutal boy, who runs wild and yells a lot. He does not seem isolated at all, as he is with a group of students.

Discrimination issue
Cultural differences
Activities carried out:
Actions undertaken to foster understanding of “coexistence”
Firstly, the student is followed closely by educators who had notices right away that he had discipline problems. He receives many explanations and comments.

However, his behaviour is persistent. He does not seem able to follow the rules of “coexistence” enacted by the school (school rules).
The educators feel his behaviour is natural for him “you could see the cultural differences ”.

Secondly, is imposed a “behaviour sheet” to comply with. Then, he receives a so-called “discipline contract” (a type of probation) that could prevent his admission the following year. The parents are informed.

One day, a serious event takes place in the schoolyard. The Iraqi student hits another boy several times. The blows are so violent the latter has a broken arm. It all started with “rough plays” and shoving. Then the situation escalated in violent punches and kicks. The scene was filmed by the school security cameras.

The young Iraqi is immediately expelled from the school after a hearing in his mother’s presence.
Assessment and lesson learnt:
Evaluation by the education team
The young boy was not bad. He always said “hello” to the educators, but he could not control himself. Never could he assimilate/understand “coexistence” codes. He was closed to explanations and requests.

There was an accumulation of acts, despite remarks, the probation and discussions with parents. The serious acts was one too many. The school applied the ruled and allowed the expulsion.

The education team felt it as a failure, but also frustration, for the expulsion did not solve anything. The young boy might do it again in the new school where he was admitted.

However, Institut Marie-Thérèse puts things into perspective. It is an isolated case. The school has had other students with a similar path, who have attended and still attend the “FLE” and who have adopted an altogether different behaviour. Those students integrated and passed the secondary school diploma.

Another school, partner in this project, shared a similar situation with a same outcome. It shared the analysis of Institut Marie-Thérèse.
Description of the Case Study in National Language:

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.