Italian students were left furious after being the subject of a fascist experiment
Teachers told five classes in a school in the Italian town of Vercelli they would be segregating students based on nationality.
They said students who had at least one foreign parent would be taught separately from others and then given special extra exams at the end of the school year.
The teachers said these exams would test pupils on their “knowledge of the Italian language and culture”.
The experiment, which parents were told about in advance, was an attempt to teach pupils about the impact of fascism in the country during the 1930s and 1940s.
Italian Racial Laws were introduced in the country during the reign of dictator Benito Mussolini, reducing the civil rights of Jewish people and foreigners.
Pupils, unaware they were the subject of an experiment, responded furiously.
The experiment took place at a school in the Italian town of Vercelli
Some physically prevented their classmates from leaving the room, while others asked to go with them into the new class.
And some pupils attempted to contact other schools to find out if the policy was being introduced across the country.
They were eventually told it was simply an experiment and asked to explain how they felt.
The experiment attempted to recreate the terror of Italy's racism laws of the 1930s and 1940s
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One said: “I felt really bad because I do not feel superior to my friends.”
A foreign student said: “I know that if it really happened, my friends would rebel and help me.”
The experiment was deemed a success by organisers – despite the trauma suffered by the children.
Italy was ruled by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini during the 1930s and 1940s
Principal Ferdinanda Chiarello said: “The experiment went fine. Obviously we expected a reaction, but not to this the extent.
“Our school wants to promote acceptance and tolerance since early stages, so the result of this experiment is comforting.
“Perhaps if there had been such a strong reaction [during Mussolini’s reign], things would have turned out differently.”
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