The Human Rights Court 1 Division of the High Court in Accra, has ordered Achimota School to admit Tyrone Marhguy, the dreadlocked Rastafarian boy into the school.

The Court, in the same spirit, directed Achimota School to also admit Oheneba Nkrabea, another Rastafarian student into the school.

Speaking after the judgment, Tyrone Marhguy said the court’s decision was part of “a great story.”

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

On going back to school and the possibility of facing further stigma, Tyrone Marhguy said “I will know how to handle it, and to straighten things up when [the stigmatization] starts.”

The saga has been ongoing since March 19, 2021, with the two students unable to start academic work with their colleagues.

They were placed in the school through the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), having satisfied the entry requirement by creditably passing their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

Tyrone Iras Marhguy’s results were attached to the lawsuit to emphasize his academic competence.

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

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 to indicate that students must keep their hair low, simple and natural.

The Judgement

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

Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea were denied admission into Achimota School for refusing to shave off their dreadlocks notwithstanding 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 will have dire consequences on the school’s discipline, health, tradition, and community cohesion.

The Attorney General subsequently argued in Court that the Rastafarian students had not even completed or returned their acceptance of admission forms and could thus not be deemed to have been denied the 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 Gifty Adjei Addo disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the students, save for 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.

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