Court orders Achimota School to Admit Rastafarian Student
The Human Rights Court 1 Division of the High Court in Accra, on Monday, May 31, 2021, ordered Achimota School to admit Oheneba Nkrabea, the dreadlock-wearing Rastafarian boy into the school.
The Court first ordered Achimota School to admit Tyrone Marhguy, another dreadlock-wearing Rastafarian boy before delivering its judgment on Oheneba Nkrabea.
Two months ago, both students were refused admission to the school due to their hairstyle which they attributed to their Rastafarian religious belief.
The school’s only consideration to allow the duo entry was for them to cut their dreadlocks which they [students] did not budge, having been placed into the school under the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
No amount of criticisms by Ghanaians, civil society organizations, and human rights activists against Achimota School compelled it to back down on its decision.
It defended its position saying, allowing deadlocked students was against the school’s rules and regulations.
Though the Ghana Education Service (GES) initially directed Achimota School to admit the students, it backtracked after pushback from the school’s stakeholders and further engagements.
In defence of the school’s decision, the Achimota School PTA said its revised rules and regulations from August 2020 indicate that students must keep their hair low, simple and natural.
The legal suit
Parents of the two students sued the school over the matter.
In one of the suits sighted by Citi News, the lawyers argued that their client’s rights were being violated by the school’s actions.
They wanted the court to declare that denying the student, admission because of dreadlocks is “a violation of his right to education guaranteed under Articles 25(1)(b), 28(4) of the 1992 Constitution.”
They also argued that denying them admission is a “violation of the [students] right to dignity”.
The lawyers also wanted “an order directed at [Achimota School] to immediately admit or enroll the applicant to continue with his education unhindered.”
In addition, a compensation for the “inconvenience, embarrassment, waste of time, and violation of the student’s fundamental human rights and freedoms”.