One of the two Rastafarian boys who was denied admission into Achimota School for refusing to cut his dreadlocks, Tyrone Marhguy, says he is fully aware of the possible stigma or victimization he may face in the school when he is finally admitted and is ready to handle it.
Tyrone Marhguy said this after the Human Rights Court 1 Division of the High Court in Accra ordered the school to admit him.
Speaking after the judgment, Tyrone Marhguy said the court’s decision was part of “a great story.”
“The first time I walked through the gate of Achimota, the first thing I did was to check the time [I arrived] because I knew one day I would be telling a story with it. I had no idea I would be telling one great story in the courtroom about how I was discriminated [against] and how I am back.”
On going back to school and the possibility of facing further stigma, Tyrone Marhguy said “I will know how to handle it and to straighten things up when [the stigmatization] starts.”
The Court, in the same spirit, directed Achimota School to also admit Oheneba Nkrabea, another Rastafarian student into the school.
Delivering the judgment on the case of two Rastafarian boys, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo held that the Attorney-General failed to provide a legal justification as to why the rights of the two Rastafarian students to education should be limited on the basis of their dreadlocks.
Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Nkrabea were denied admission into Achimota School for refusing to shave off their dreadlocks notwithstanding that they had passed their qualifying examinations, and, had been selected into the school through the computerized placement system.
The school through the Attorney General argued in court that allowing the students into the school will have dire consequences on the school’s discipline, health, tradition, and community cohesion.
The Attorney General subsequently argued in Court that the Rastafarian students had not even completed or returned their acceptance of admission forms and could thus not be deemed to have been denied the admission.
But for the students, their parents, and lawyers, this was simply a case of a breach of fundamental rights on the basis of their religion and religious practices.
Justice Gifty Adjei Addo disagreed with the submissions of the Attorney and granted all the reliefs separately sought by the students, save for the relief of compensation in the case of Tyrone Marhguy.
According to Justice Addo, it is preposterous for the Attorney General to have even suggested that the two were not students in the first place.
Justice Gifty Adjei Addo consequently directed Achimota School to admit the two Rastafarian students.