Catholic school rapped for discriminating

Catholic school rapped for discriminating

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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7 responses to “Catholic school rapped for discriminating”

  1. In Defense of Canada and Ontario State, I wish to state that I got a Refugee status after I got very severely Harassed by Right Extremists and my own blood sister who is a Catholic religious nun. She and I believe her Catholic organization tried to have me locked up as insane, as I refused to be “exorcised” in France for being a Lesbian and a non Cristian. In that case, I had to be cured of my disease… Although at the time I was a working Psychologist, I was abducted and secluded for 20 days in France in a Paris hospital, until the staff duly checked and realized I was really a working psychologist with 2 employers (fully satisfied)and the situation was totally illegal… Because the situation might repeat itself in a private institution where anybody can totally disappear… I chose to leave France and ask for a Refugee status in Canada. Although there are strong ties between Canada and France, I was however granted this status and I bow to Canadian Democracy in Ontario. However, it is true unfortunately that the Catholic Lobby in this state is so powerful that after almost 2 years in Toronto, I had to leave…because my sister again intervened at the French Embassy, made a mess with the word “Vatican” (she is also a Journalist there…)and I had to take a lawyer to prevent any attempt to force me back to France and recover my passport. However, Canada left me my Refugee Status…

  2. Thank you, Star Observer Staff Writers, for exposing the institutionalization of homophobia in Canadian Catholic schools. As I am sure you are aware, these instances of homophobia are not limited to Canadian Catholic schools. Incidents such as this one are also taking place in the Catholic schools of many Commonwealth nations that publicly fund their Catholic schools. These Canadian students’ experience with Catholic school administrators is sadly common. Catholic school administrators regularly refuse lgbtq-affirming supports in their schools, all the while claiming that Catholic schools reflect Catholic Church teachings that all non-heterosexuals are treated with every bit as much dignity and respect as any other person. If this were true, then why is there such a pronounced problem with homophobia in Catholic schools? Of course Catholic schools would like the general public to believe that bishops are the final authority for all curricular and policy decisions taken in Catholic schools. However, the fact is that Catholic schools in the province of Ontario in Canada must also answer to the Ontario Ministry of Education and its Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, which reflects the Ontario Human Rights Code, which in turn is modeled after the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you delve more deeply into this story, you will find that Catholic schools in Canada disseminate a homophobic pamphlet that suggests “Courage International” as a viable option for queers. Like the Ontario bishops’ Pastoral Guidelines to Assist Students of Same-Sex Orientation, “Courage” harbors a conversion agenda. This kind of hateful and obviously discriminatory message has no place in publicly funded Catholic schools in Canada or any other nation. Keep up the great reporting, Star Observer! The more people learn about just what is going on in Canadian Catholic schools, the more likely it is that public discussions can be had to reverse the religiously inspired homophobia that has been going on in Canadian Catholic schools for years. Please feel free to join our facebook page under the title “St. Joe’s Gay-Straight Alliance” to continue the discussion further.

  3. Glad to hear our shame here in Ontario Canada is being revealed in Australia. Catholic Schools in Ontario are publicly funded yet openly discriminate against gay students and teachers. Our Minister of Education and Premier of Ontario (his wife is a teacher with the Catholic School Board) sit silently and allow this to happen. Myself and MANY Ontarians want their funding to be stopped. Please feel free to join our facebook page named St. Joes’s Gay-Staright Alliance and show your support for this publicly funded discrimination.

  4. The one thing that this article does not point out is – that the discrimination is continuing and while he is making it “perfectly clear” the government is taking no action to right the situation. The Catholic School system continues to discriminate and continues to receive public funding.

  5. It isn’t a problem of one Ontario Catholic school denying gays their rights–it’s the entire system. All 1,500 publicly funded Catholic schools in the province discriminate against gays, openly and legally.

    It’s time to amend this antiquated Constitutional quirk.

  6. It’s good that the issue is getting international attention, but the facts of the matter are far more troubling than the reporter knows:

    1. Ontario’s Catholic school system is 100% publicly funded
    2. A Constitutional loophole permits Catholic schools to discriminate any way they please. These schools are exempt from human rights legislation.

    There is a movement afoot to amend the Constitution so that these schools will no longer receive public funding. The provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland made similar amendments ten years ago. All we lack in Ontario is the political will. Politicians shy away from this clear-cut case of discrimination like it’s the plague. Until the amendment happens, Ontario should be regarded globally as a human rights pariah, where gays and non-Catholics are 2nd class citizens in a publicly funded institution.

  7. Canadian religious schools aren’t really private. Thay are fully funded by taxes. Especially the catholic systems in Ontario and Quebec. Since religion based schools in this country are in the main funded by us through taxes it’s way past time that the religious exemptions to our anti-discrimination laws were removed! If they take public money they can’t be allowed to discriminate against us.