The universalist argument that all children should be educated in inclusive mainstream schools, irrespective of their difficulties or disabilities, is traced to the claims (a) that special schools and disability ‘labels’ are inherently humiliating, and (b) that no decent society tolerates inherently humiliating institutions. I ask (following Avishai Margalit) whether there is a sound reason for a child to feel humiliated by special schools/disability ‘labels’ as such, and find none. Empirically, some do and some do not find these humiliating, and it is argued that the failure to address the multiple ‘realities’ of disability and learning difficulty is responsible for the policy impasse in this area.