A Catholic school in the Canadian province of Ontario has received a rap over the knuckles after it tried to ban students from setting up a gay-straight alliance at the school.

St Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School student Leanne Iskander, 16, approached principal Frances Jacques to start a gay-straight alliance recently but said she was told she couldn’t as such a group would be inappropriate for 16-year-olds and “would encourage other students to identify their sexuality when they are too young”.

Ontario’s equality laws cover both state and private schools.

“We are making it perfectly clear to all our school boards, all our schools, all our principals, all our teachers and all our students that it is unacceptable in Ontario to discriminate based on race, gender, religion or sexual orientation,” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said in response to the incident.

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