The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) received a distress message showing severe body harm inflicted on students by teachers of Annor Adjaye Senior High School, a public Senior High School (SHS) located in the Jomoro Municipality, the Southwestern part of the Western Region of Ghana.
The students heard an alarm that some teachers were coming, but since they were already dressing up for church service, they decided to remain in the dormitory and rather wait for the teachers while some others dashed out.
Teachers, per information gathered by the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) numbering about seven (7) went to the school dormitory where the students were getting dressed up for the regular service.
Upon arrival, no amount of explanation they gave was taken. The students were directed to kneel down which was followed by the severe caning which has resulted in serious visible damage to the body of the students.
The offence for which the students were brutally caned and hurt by the teachers was because they were getting late for the Sunday morning service. This abuse hinges on the students’ right to freedom of worship and religion and at the same time on the need to obey school rules as students, however, the magnitude of the corporal punishment is uncalled-for. The offence of the students gathered so far points to being late for the Sunday morning church service.
The students were further asked to go and weed a piece of land belonging to an Agric Institution after the church service.
It is alleged that the school’s head of the English department, the Assistant Head of academics, and one Senior Housemaster were part of those who went on the canning spree.
Although the GES has banned corporal punishment in schools since 2017, teachers do not seem ready to stop the use of canes and this can be said to be the case in Annor Adjaye Senior High School.
As a result of the continuous abuse on the part of some teachers at the basic and senior high schools, in 2017, the Ghana Education Services officially banned all forms of corporal punishment of children in schools in Ghana as part of efforts aimed at promoting a safe and protective learning environment for children.
The Ghana Education service’s directive was issued in January 2019 that a Positive Discipline Toolkit which gives alternatives to corporal punishments is adopted by all teachers. Our Country is one of the very many other countries that incorporated corporal punishment in its educational practices, as a procedure of penalizing and remedial technique. Of the many procedures of corporal punishment, caning was prevalent in Ghanaian public and private basic and senior high schools, as a quick to administer a form of punishment. However, this was not used by the Annor Adjaye SHS Teachers.
According to sources, the educators who are expected to observe the ban on caning policy of the Ghana Education Service decided to teach the students a Mother’s Day lesson.
They virtually abused the students by excessively lashing them. Students who suffered the inhumane treatment number about nineteen (19) per our sources.
Due to the inhumane treatment meted out to the students, marks from the canes can be visibly seen on their legs, arms, thighs, and their backs and blood clots are clearly visible on their bodies. The abuse happened in House 4 also known as Rev. Father Quarm House.
The question is, should students be excessively beaten and abused to compel them to be part of a church service they were already preparing for?
It is the improper use of authority and aggression. Is the intention to harm the only reasonable option for instilling discipline in students at Annor Adjaye Senior High School?
The students alleged that the brute caning is a common practice in the School by the teachers due to the location of the school in a village and far from town
Our efforts to reach the school authorities proved futile as the available school contact number could not help the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) to reach school authorities.
However, the video evidence attached to this publication gives a clear indication of the rate of abuse meted out to the students by the teachers who should have known better and exercised restraint and further deployed a human centered approach to dealing with the situation.
We call on the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Police to take up this matter and ensure they get to the bottom of this and teachers found guilty of the act are dealt with accordingly
No matter how grave the offence of this matter, the teachers who are alleged to have teamed up to abuse the second and final-year students over the compulsory religious gathering in school failed to make the right decisions.
The SHS student abused by teachers on Mother’s Day is a bad move on such a day, and parents are already worried as their children make distress calls back home.
Some harmed students are unable to sit or lie down. In the video attached, one can hear them complain of being assaulted by the teachers for being late for the early Sunday church service organized on campus.
The students have not been able to lodge an official complaint to the headmaster, who was unavailable when the incident occurred.
The students are planning to lodge an official complaint at the nearest police station. They say their hopes of applying for recruitment into any of the security services seem to be dashed because the marks on their bodies may prevent them from passing the body check phase of the recruitment process.
The Human Rights Reporters Ghana is alarmed by the action by the educators and is calling for immediate action by the Ghana Police and the Ghana Education Service.