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High Court orders Achimota School to admit Rasta student

High Court orders Achimota School to admit Rasta student

Tyrone Marhguy, the dreadlocked Rastafarian boy, has been admitted to Achimota School by the Human Rights Court 1 Division of the High Court in Accra.

In the same spirit, the Court ordered Achimota School to admit Oheneba Nkrabea, another Rastafarian student.
Tyrone Marhguy said after the decision that the court’s decision was part of “a great story.”

“The first thing I did when I walked through the gate of Achimota was checking the time [I arrived] because I knew one day, I would be telling a story with it.” I had no idea I’d be telling a great story in court about how I was discriminated against and how I came back.”

Tyrone Marhguy said of returning to school and the possibility of further stigma, “I will know how to handle it, and to straighten things out when [the stigmatisation] starts.”

Since March 19, 2021, the two students have been unable to begin academic work with their colleagues.

They were admitted to the school via the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) after successfully passing their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

The results of Tyrone Iras Marhguy’s tests were attached to the lawsuit to demonstrate his academic ability.

The school had asked the boys’ parents to cut their sons’ hair or find them another school.

Though the Ghana Education Service (GES) initially directed Achimota School to admit the students, the GES reversed its decision following pushback from the school’s stakeholders and additional engagements.

In support of the school’s decision, the Achimota School PTA stated that beginning in August 2020, students must wear their hair low, simple, and natural.

The Judgement

The school had asked the boys’ parents to cut their sons’ hair or find them another school.

In her decision on the case of two Rastafarian boys, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo stated that the Attorney-General failed to provide a legal justification for why the two Rastafarian students’ rights to education should be limited due to their dreadlocks.

Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea were denied admission to Achimota School because they refused to shave their dreadlocks, despite having passed their qualifying examinations and being selected through the computerised placement system.

The school argued in court that allowing the students in would have disastrous consequences for the school’s discipline, health, tradition, and community cohesion.

Also read: Half-Assini Police Commander shoots himself

The Attorney General later argued in court that because the Rastafarian students had not even completed or returned their acceptance of admission forms, they could not be considered to have been denied admission.

However, for the students, their parents, and lawyers, this was simply a violation of their fundamental rights based on their religion and religious practices.

Except for the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy, Justice Gifty Adjei Addo disagreed with the Attorney’s submissions and granted all of the reliefs separately sought by the students.

According to Justice Addo, the Attorney General’s suggestion that the two were not students in the first place is absurd.

As a result, Justice Gifty Adjei Addo ordered that the two Rastafarian students be admitted to Achimota School.

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