Tyrone Marhguy, one of the two Rastafarian boys who were denied admission to Achimota School for refusing to cut his dreadlocks, says he is fully aware of the potential stigma or victimization he may face in the school when he is finally admitted and is prepared to deal with it.
Tyrone Marhguy made this statement after the Human Rights Court 1 Division of the Accra High Court ordered the school to admit him.
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 check 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 straighten things out when [the stigmatization] starts.”
In the same spirit, the Court ordered Achimota School to admit Oheneba Nkrabea, another Rastafarian student.
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 computerized 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.
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.
Gifty, Justice Adjei Addo disagreed with the Attorney’s submissions and granted all of the reliefs sought separately by the students, except for the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy.
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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