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Achimota PTA explains selective application of school rules

BY: Jasmine Arku

The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of Achimota Senior High School has explained why some students of the school are made to wear long hair following debates over the admission of two students with dreadlocks to the school.

The two, who gained admission to the school, are yet to be enrolled following the school’s insistence that they cut their dreadlocks in conformity with the school’s rules.

Following that, social media has been flooded with some photographs suggesting that the school’s rules did not apply to Caucasian students.

But in an interview on TV3, the school’s PTA Chairman, Dr Andre Kwasi-Kumah, explained that the exceptions were applied to students on exchange programmes, as well as those with medical excuses.

“The headmistress tells me unequivocally that everyone is supposed to keep short hair. The picture circulating right now is likely to be exchange students and because they are not permanent students, they are allowed to keep their hair. I’ve also been told that in the past, some have been allowed to keep long hair, whether Caucasians or non-Caucasians for medical reasons. So, exceptions have been made based on health reasons,” he said.

Achimota PTA justifies selective application of school rules on Caucasians

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Dr Kwasi-Kumah, further supported the school’s insistence that the two students cut their dreadlocks before being enrolled.

He added that, allowing them to be enrolled on the basis of religion would open the flood gates for “other people to also come in demanding compromises for their religious believes.”

“We like the Achimota tradition, we like the way our kids are being raised with these rules. So, we want these rules maintained. We don’t want any change. Appearances matter so I wouldn’t want my son or daughter to get exposed to some indecent hairstyle and copy it,” he said.

“If you make a compromise for religious reasons, you are likely to have other people also come in demanding compromises for their religious believes. So, you could have the traditionalist coming in with dreadlocks with cowries in it or nudist, that’s going extreme, come in or people coming in with funny hairstyles and say that is their religion. So, even though it’s their religious beliefs because we want to maintain the training of how our kids are raised, we still will not want to compromise on that,” he added.

The PTA in a statement issued on Tuesday also cited 14(1)(e) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which gives the school the right to set rules in furtherance of education.

Article 14(1)(e) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana states: “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except in the following cases and in accordance with procedure permitted by law-

(e) For the purpose of the education or welfare of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years”.

“We, therefore, stand with the headmistress and welcome into our fold, parents who are ready to abide by the rules and regulations of Achimota School,” the statement said.

 Below is the full statement from the Achimota PTA

The Achimota school PTA executive unreservedly and unequivocally supports the school’s decision to enforce Its rules with respect to the admission of three students with dreadlocks hairstyle.

According to the school’s revised rules and regulations (August 2020), section H (General Appearance), item 3 states “Students must keep their hair low, simple and natural. (Students’ hair should not go through any chemical process). The scalp must not show.”

This age-old rule has prevented unnecessary attention and time wasting with ‘non-school’ hairdos. Any exceptions to this rule on religious grounds would open the floodgates for all types of hairstyles and breed indiscipline.

Furthermore, we believe Article 14(1)(e) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which states: ‘Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except in the following cases and in accordance with procedure permitted by law-

(e) for the purpose of the education or welfare of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years” gives the school right to set rules in furtherance of education.

We, therefore, stand with the headmistress and welcome into our fold, parents who are ready to abide by the rules and regulations of Achimota school.