Pressure group, OccupyGhana has joined the call for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to reconsider the decision to dismiss the eight students from the Chiana Senior High School for making derogatory comments against President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In a statement dated January 12, 2023, reacting to the dismissal, OccupyGhana agreed that what the students did and said were “terrible and despicable, directed at anyone, let alone the person who holds the high office of President.”
Below is the full statement of OccupyGhana
DISMISSAL OF STUDENTS FOR MAKING DEROGATORY COMMENTS AGAINST THE PRESIDENT
OccupyGhana has noted with grave disquiet, press reports about a decision by the Ghana Education Service (GES), which directs the dismissal of eight students of the Chiana Senior High School in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region. The students were recorded on video, making derogatory comments against the President.
We agree that what the students did and said were terrible and despicable, directed at anyone, let alone the person who holds the high office of President. Our culture and traditions frown upon such conduct. Therefore, we cannot fault the GES if it decides to discipline the errant students.
However, we live in a liberal democracy that requires us to be tolerant and not completely overreact in situations like this. The same culture and traditions that frown upon the students’ conduct, still urges restraint in punishing such wrongs. It is in line with this spirit of forbearance and tolerance that the current President, then as Attorney-General, introduced in and shepherded through Parliament, a Bill that famously repealed several sections of the Criminal Offences Act that criminalised speech, including the then offence of ‘insulting the president.’
We commend to the GES, the same spirit of tolerance and attitude of forbearance. We believe that even if the students ought to face some disciplinary measures for their conduct, dismissing them from school, which effectively terminates their education in the public schooling system, is extreme and not commensurate to their wrong. While deterrence is a good aim of punishment, we should punish to rehabilitate and not destroy. We believe that some suspension with compulsory counselling for the students would be more effective than the dismissal.
We respectfully urge the GES to reconsider its decision.