Pentecostal Council backs Achimota, St. John’s Grammar schools’ refusal to admit Rastafarians into SHS

The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) has expressed the need to uphold discipline at the secondary educational level in the country, thus supporting authorities of Achimota Senior High School on the issue of wearing of bushy hair including dreadlocks.

The GPCC expressed this in a statement signed and issued by its General Secretary, Rev. Emmanuel T. Barrigah, on March 25, 2021.

The council is of the view that “Senior High Schools (SHS) like Achimota and the many other prestigious ones could not have attained their current high status without the strict enforcement of their disciplinary codes.”

Furthermore, these institutions [SHS], according to the council, “have been the grounds where many young people have had their lives moulded to become responsible adults.”

In light of these, the GPCC deems it imperative to maintain the “high standards of discipline without compromising them in the name of human rights.”

Speaking about human rights, the council holds firmly that every child has a right to education but it is the responsibility of that child to obey the rules of the school that enrolled him or her.

The statement read: “In as much as every child has the right to education irrespective of their race, ethnicity, religion and culture, such rights come with responsibilities in the form of adherence to the rules governing Schools.”

The GPCC, stating explicitly its position, urged the authorities of Achimota Senior High School to ensure that students’ right to education is not denied in course of enforcing their disciplinary codes.

“While the Council stands with the authorities of Achimota School and any other Senior High School in the enforcement of their approved disciplinary codes for the betterment of our young students,

“It is the position of the Council that in the enforcement of such disciplinary codes care must be taken not to deny such students their rights to education as enshrined in the Constitution,” the council urged.

It also urged the public to desist from passing comments that are likely to undermine the “disciplined high school system” of the country in the course of debating on the subject matter.

It said: “While appreciating the different shades of opinion being expressed and the ensuing healthy debate on this very important subject matter,

“the council wishes to encourage all and sundry to continue with this healthy debate without stoking any religious, racial, cultural and ethnic sentiments that could mar our very long-cherished disciplined high school system bequeathed us by our forbearers.”

Background

Some few days ago, Achimota School authorities refused to admit two Rastafarian students with dreadlocks on grounds that the school’s policy frowns on dreadlocks.

Educational stakeholders including the Ghana Education Service (GES), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the school, and the general public have since been expressing their positions on the subject matter.

GES for instance initially issued a directive to the school authorities to admit the students but later rescinded the decision following the authorities insistence on upholding the rules and regulations governing the school.

Meanwhile, two sisters with dreadlocks, Nikita and Amrita Marhguy, who were admitted at St. Johns Grammar a week ago and are a triplet with Tyrone Marhguy, one of the affected students of Achimota School, have also been asked to trim their hair as a result of the heated debate on the issue.

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