Endeavours to integrate children of different abilities in mainstream education have been present for more than two decades, but the principles of inclusive education have gained legislative support only recently. This paper is an attempt to contribute to an understanding of day-to-day interaction among pupils and their classmates with special educational needs and to examine conditions that might have an impact on an inclusive atmosphere in the class. The paper is based on findings from a representative survey of inclusive attitudes of fifth graders and ethnographic observation in the subsample of classes covered by the survey. The paper begins by outlining its theoretical framework, which suggests the relevance of classic sociological ideas about the role of schools in promoting societal peace and solidarity and presents a theoretical reflection on inclusive education policies. The paper then introduces its methodology and the results of two interconnected research projects – the representative survey of pupils’ inclusive attitudes and the ethnography of daily life in regular school classes with integrated children who have special educational needs. The results of both projects are mutually supporting and show rather lukewarm attitudes towards classmates with SEN, who are often isolated and sometimes openly brushed aside. Finally, the authors try to elucidate why cultivating friendly and inclusive interactions among children has held a marginal place in teachers’ work.