This article examines the ways in which schools in France face the challenges posed by new types of migrant and refugee pupils. It is based on comparative ethnographic fieldwork carried out in various localities of a French department and on interviews with school personnel confronted with the arrival of children from two groups who embody the perceived distinction between undesirable economic migrants and deserving refugees. The first are children of isolated families of resettled Syrian refugees welcomed in rural localities by groups of engaged citizens. The second are Bulgarian Roma children living in precarious conditions in a large metropolitan city where they tend to be segregated within certain schools and classes. The comparison shows that special provisions for such students do not necessarily contribute to their inclusion, while the concerted mobilization of various actors, even in the absence of special services, favors their educational and social inclusion. When support for these children becomes everyone’s business, it encourages educational innovation and the acceptance of cultural and linguistic differences.

DOI: 10.33423/jhetp.v22i5.5203
ISSN: 2158-3595