Special classes in Italian lower secondary schools were established in 1962. They were abrogated after barely fifteen years, in 1977. The author claims that their brief - however remarkable - history should be seen in the context of the so-called "Italian center-left" and its failure in changing the Italian social and cultural structure. Special classes were devised by Italian center-left governments as a useful tool for helping pupils and for reducing schoolleaving levels. However, enquiries and articles written between the end of the Sixties and the first years of the Seventies highlighted the failure of this system. Teachers sent all the pupils with behavioural, cultural and social problems to special classes for not coping with them. Furthermore, pupils enrolled in special classes followed a less strict programme which was ineffective for upper secondary studies or for obtaining a good job. Hence, for a wider part of public opinion special classes seemed a way to perpetuate economic and cultural discrepancies in Italian society.
Keywords: Lower Secondary School, Special Classes, Special Education, Teachers, Sixty-Eight Movement, Disabled Pupils