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Achimota school rules are subservient to the Constitution – Lawyer for Rasta students speaks

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Amanda Clinton, an attorney representing the Rastafarian students who have been denied enrolment by Achimota Senior High School has said the rules of the school are ultimately subservient to the Constitution of Ghana.

According to Clinton, although negotiations are strained at the moment, she hopes that the Ghana Education Service (GES) and Achimota school will reconsider and admit the two Rastafarians because of their religious beliefs.

In a statement to GhanaWeb on Wednesday, Amanda Clinton said: “International precedent regarding similar types of cases, particularly in the U.K. have consistently gone in favour of Rastafarian students when such matters have gone before the courts; and that is with the caveat that the hair must be neatly tied back and be under a head covering in colours approved by the school.”

Clinton indicated that under section 28(4) of the 1992 Constitution, no child should be deprived by any other person of education or any other social benefit by reason only of religious or other beliefs.

“Not accepting the boys into Achimota school because of their dreadlocks is a degrading treatment which is also frowned upon under article 28(3) of the 1992 constitution,” Clinton said.

“Should Achimota School and Ghana Education Service not consider accepting the boys on the basis of an acceptable head covering; it is likely that this matter will be submitted to a more formal forum on the basis that the boys’ human rights have been violated.”

Amanda Clinton buttressed her argument that there is a violation of the two students’ human rights in several respects, by citing articles 21(1)(c), 25(1), 26(1) 28(3) and 28(4) of the Constitution.

Background

The authorities of Achimota School in Accra on Thursday refused to enrol two dreadlock students, asking the parents to cut off their hair or find another school for them.

The news has since caught national attention.

After public outrage, the Ghana Education Service (GES) initially instructed Achimota School to admit the two first-year students who had reported to the school.

Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, Director-General of GES told the Daily Graphic: “We have asked her [headmistress] to admit the students. The student is a Rastafarian and if there is evidence to show that he is Rastafarian, all that he needs to do is to tie the hair neatly.”

But the GES on Monday, 22 March, backtracked on that earlier directive, this time siding with the headmistress of Achimota School.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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