The Attorney General (AG), Godfred Yeboah Dame and the Achimota School have filed a joint appeal at the Appeals Court against the judgment of the High Court in Accra which compelled Achimota to admit two Rastafarian students that it had earlier refused to admit over their dreadlocks.
According to the appellants, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo’s erred in law when she ruled that the school’s enforcement of its rules on dressing and politesse infringes on the fundamental human rights of the two students to have an education.
“The learned Judge erred when she held that the regulation of the 1st Respondent requiring that students keep their hair low amounted to an illegal and unconstitutional attempt to suspend the manifestation of the Applicant’s guaranteed freedom to practice and manifest his religion,” the filed statement from Achimota and the AG read.
“The learned Judge erred when she held that Respondent’s actions of asking the Applicant to step aside during the registration process are a violation of his right to dignity, especially when the 2nd Respondent had disputed the veracity of that fact.”
In March 2021, Tyrone Iras Marhguy and Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea had dragged the Achimota School Board of Governors, the Minister of Education, the Ghana Education Service, and the Attorney General to court over the school’s refusal to admit them because of their dreadlock hairstyle.
Achimota School had explained the hairstyle was against the school’s regulation and that they would only be admitted if they agreed to shave their hair.
Achimota’s double standards became apparent in the matter when it was revealed that some foreign students had been allowed by the school to keep their long hairs and some foreigners even spotted dreadlocks.
When confronted with the issue earlier, Angel Carbonu, the President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has justified the disparity by saying European kids would look ugly if they were asked to cut their hair low.
On May 31, 2021, the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo entered judgment to the effect that the fundamental human rights of the two students cannot be limited by the rules in question.
According to the judge, the Achimota School and proponents, including GES and the Attorney General’s Department, had failed to make a compelling argument as to why those two students should not be admitted, especially given their rights to education as well as their rights to express their religious freedom.
But appealing the ruling, Achimota School argues that the High Court erred by indicating that the rules and regulations of the School concerning ensuring uniformity in appearance is unlawful and interferes with one’s religious rights.