Roma children unwelcome in state schools in Lyon: Anti-racism campaigners
Roma people's presence in France has not always been welcome , and former President Nicolas Sarkozy made the dismantling of Roma camps and the “repatriation” of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria a key policy in the run-up to the 2012 election. France24 photo
A group of Roma children in southeast France have been forced to attend classes at a police station after local schools refused to take them in, anti-racism campaigners have complained.
Their “school” is on the second floor of a police station at Saint-Fons, a suburb of Lyon. The 20 children, aged between six and 12, are all taught by one teacher.
They are not fed at lunchtime, as are all other pupils at French state schools, so at noon every day they have to walk 1.5 km back to the shanty town where some 100 Roma have been camped near the city bypass.
“It goes against all the principles of integration,” Jean-Philippe, a local campaigner for anti-racism group MRAP, told FRANCE 24. “It is a simple case of discrimination and stigmatisation of an ethnic minority.”
Jean-Philippe, who did not give his family name, explained that the Saint-Fons council had calculated that the local Roma encampment would have been moved on quickly, and so did not make any provisions for them to be received in local schools.
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