Achimota School Goes Adamant….on  Admission  of Rasta Students

Rastafarian students and Achimota School Rastafarian students and Achimota School

Achimota School, has served notice that it would appeal the recent High Court decision, ordering it to admit the two Rastafarian boys, Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea.

The school's board of governors, in a statement barely 24-hours after the landmark ruling, said it has instructed its lawyers to appeal the decision because it disagrees with it.

"The court ruled that the religious rights of the two applicants had been violated by the School Management as they sought to enforce the time-tested and well-known rules of the School. The Court further directed the School to admit the two applicants. The school Board disagrees with the ruling of the Court" excerpts of the statement said.

An Accra High Court on Monday, May 31, 2021, delivered its ruling regarding the denial of two Rastafarian boys; Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea admission to Achimota School because they failed to cut their dreadlocks.

Justice Gifty Adjei Addo, the Presiding Judge, disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney General and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the embattled students except the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy.

According to Justice Addo, it is preposterous for the Attorney General to have even suggested that the two were not students in the first place.

Justice Gifty Adjei Addo consequently directed Achimota School to admit the two Rastafarian students.

Lawyer for the two Rastafarian boys, Wayoe Ghanamannti in an earlier Citi News interview was indifferent about the possibility of the school appealing the decision.

He said, while it remains within the right of the lawyers of Achimota School to appeal the decision, he is very content that his clients have received the green light from the court to go to school.

"They have the right to appeal. Our learned friends didn't indicate any signal of an appeal, but they have a right to do so. Even when they do that, they would have started going to school. And before the appeal will be prepared and put before a court of appeal and the court called upon to get the parties to appear and move the appeal and all that, they would have started school. When we get to that bridge, we will cross it," he said on Eyewitness News.

The Executive Director of the Human Rights and Governance Centre, Martin Kpebu, says the case between the Rastafarian boys and Achimota School was "too plain" for a court dispute.

The Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu, speaking on Eyewitness News after the Human Rights Court 1 Division of the High Court in Accra ordered Achimota School to admit the boys, argued that the "constitution is clear in Article 28 and 21 that you don't use somebody's religion to discriminate against the person. Article 21 is clear that there is freedom of religion."

Education think tank, Africa Education Watch, has welcomed the Accra High Court's order for Achimota School to admit two Rastafarian boys, Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea, who were denied admission into the school for refusing to cut their dreadlocks as Rastafarians.

Speaking to Citi News, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, said the ruling is a progressive one.

According to him, this is a "victory for the right to education and the rule of law."

"In any country where there are disagreements in relation to the position of the law, the last resort is to go to court. And so citizens going to court to pursue their fundamental human rights is the exercise of democratic rights and should be encouraged."

"I was honestly not expecting this ruling because I have seen previous rulings by other courts in Ghana on similar issues that suggested otherwise. When the parents of the two informed the school authorities of their intention to go to court, the school actually told them that they have handled such cases before, and it goes in their favour, so they are not the least intimidated."

The Judgement

Delivering the judgment on the case of the two Rastafarian boys, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo held that the Attorney-General failed to provide a legal justification as to why the students' right to education should be limited on the basis of their dreadlocks.

Messrs. Marhguy and Nkrabea were denied admission into Achimota School for refusing to shave off their dreadlocks, despite the fact that they had passed their qualifying examinations, and had been selected into the school through the computerized placement system.

The school, through the Attorney General, argued in court that allowing the students into the school would have dire consequences on the school's discipline, students' health, tradition, and community cohesion.

The Attorney General subsequently argued in court that the Rastafarian students had not even completed or returned their admission acceptance forms and thus, could not claim to have been denied admission.

But for the students, their parents, and lawyers, this was simply a case of a breach of fundamental rights on the basis of their religion and religious practices.

Justice Addo disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney General and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the students, except the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy.

According to Justice Addo, it was preposterous for the Attorney General to have even suggested that the two were not students in the first place. Consequently, she directed Achimota School to admit the two students.

Source: www.theheraldghana.com