One of Ghana’s top public senior high schools located in the capital Accra is facing backlash after two Form 1 students were turned away on their first day of class because of dreadlocks.
School authorities at the Achimota School claim it is against the rules of the school to admit students with dreadlocks.
“School authorities of Achimota school have denied two brilliant dreadlock students from being admitted after having been posted there by the Computerised School Placement System,” a parent whose son was among the two students shared on Facebook.
Ghanaians weigh in
Meanwhile, former Kumbugu MP, Ras Muburak has questioned the school’s decision.
According to the MP, the move is a violation of articles 21(1)(c), 25(1), 26(1) 28(3) and 28(4) of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Mubarak in a Facebook post said the Constitution makes it clear that no child should be deprived by any other person of medical treatment, education or any other social or economic benefit by reason only of religious or other beliefs.
Thus, the former MP said the decision to deny students admission on the basis of their Rasta culture is not a step in the right direction.
“Not accepting them into the school because of their dreadlocks is degrading treatment which is frowned upon under article 28(3). The school may have its rules, but those rules, and all other rules and laws are subservient to the constitution of Ghana. The supreme law of the land is the constitution,” he said.
He, therefore, has asked the school authorities to rescind their decision and admit the students.
“I hope the decision would be reversed, in the overall best interest of the school and the affected children,” he said.
Family to sue
Although the Achimota School is yet to respond to the issue, family of one of the students is contemplating a suit.
The father of the 16-year-old boy, Raswad Menkrabea, is upset that the school is acting contrary to the constitution.
“Once the school goes against the constitution I will never accept it,” he was quoted by citinewsroom.com during an interview on Eyewitness News.
Raswad Menkrabea and his son abide by the Rastafari way of life and this is normally marked by the wearing of dreadlocks.
One other boy with dreadlocks was also barred from starting school at the Achimota School.
Though Raswad Menkrabea wishes for his son to continue his education at Achimota School, he said this would be dependent on legal proceedings.
“We are making alternatives for another school if it is going to be a long drawn out issue while we fight it in court,” he said on Eyewitness News.
According to him, the teacher who prevented his son from beginning school refused to identify himself.
Raswad Menkrabea also said there was no formal communication barring his son from the school.
“I went for him [the teacher] to give me an official letter that he has rejected the child and he said he would not do that.”
Reaction from Right Groups
Child Rights International, an NGO, is backing Raswad Menkrabea and has called on the Achimota School to reverse the decision.
“The constitution of our country bestows the right to education as a substantive right of every child and no other impediment can be placed on any child in that regard,” the NGO said in a statement.
Child Rights said a balance between the school rules and rights of parents was necessary in this situation.
“In our opinion, where there is a clash, each school must find its relevant space within our educational system but the ultimate is the substantive rights of children.”
“A child should not be denied access to education irrespective of his/her makeup, even if its ‘Rastafarian hair’,” Child Rights stressed.
Source: Daily Mail GH with additional files from myjoyonline.com and citinewsroom.com