Second Rastafarian student denied enrolment by Achimota School sues

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One of the two Rastafarian students who was refused admission by Achimota School, Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea has filed a suit at the Humans Rights Division of the Accra High Court over his rejection.

This comes less than a week after the other Rastafarian student, Tyron Iras Marhguy, filed a similar suit seeking to enforce his fundamental human rights.

Both boys, who were denied admission due to their dreadlocks are praying the court to compel Achimota School to admit them for the purposes of their education.

Marhguy also asked for compensation and an apology from the school for embarrassing him and wasting his time.

In Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea lawsuit, he indicated that Achimota School is being sued on his behalf by his friend, Marvin Palmer because he is a minor.

Directing his suit at the Board of Governors of Achimota School, the Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education and the Attorney General, he is urging the court to, among other things, “make a declaration that requiring Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea a child and adherent of the Rastafari religion and creed, to either cut his hair or forfeit admission into Achimota School, a public senior high school, is a violation of his rights to dignity…contrary to articles 15 and 28(3) of the Constitution, 1992 and section 13 of the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560)”.

On the issue of fair hearing, the suit is seeking the court to make “A declaration that requiring Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea a child and adherent of the Rastafari religion and creed, to either cut his hair or forfeit admission into Achimota School, a public senior high school, without first providing him an opportunity to be heard, is a violation of his right to due process and natural justice.”

He is also praying for “An order directed at the respondents herein to permit Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea a child and adherent of the Rastafari religion and creed, to enter Achimota School for the purpose of completing registration formalities and to begin academic work; and an order of perpetual injunction directed at the respondents herein either by themselves, their agents or assigns restraining them from further violating the rights of Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea a child and adherent of the Rastafari religion and creed.”

Background

On Friday, March 19, 2021, two students with dreadlocks were denied admission into the Achimota School after been posted there by the Computerised School Placement System.

The school claimed it was against their rules to admit students with dreadlocks. Indeed, school rules put out by the PTA indicates all kinds of long hair are not allowed.

While many have described the stance by the school as a violation of articles 21(1)(c), 25(1), 26(1) 28(3), and 28(4) of the 1992 Constitution, authorities of the school insists the students will not be given enrolment until they cut their hair.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) subsequently ordered Achimota School to admit the students, but later made a U-turn on its stance.

In the heat of the social media debate, Tyron Marhguy went to seek admission at his second choice of school, Saint John’s Grammar but was again refused admission because of his dreadlocks.

His siblings, Nikita and Amrita Marhguy, who together with him are triplets, were later refused admission because the Old Students Association of the school raised concerns.

This resulted in his decision to sue Achimota School.

Fahter of Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea, Ras Aswad Nkrabea has threatened to discourage Jamaican tourists from coming to Ghana if his son is not admitted by Achimota School.

Meanwhile, some legal practitioners have said the school will lose this case on the face of the law, while the school is also on record as boasting that it had won similar cases in the past.

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