The Child Rights International(CRI) has called on authorities of the Ejisuman Senior High School (SHS) to call back the seven female students who were de-boardenised over viral video.
Although the CRI condemns the conduct of the students, it believes expelling them from the boarding house does not solve the problem, rather, aggravates it since the students now have full access to gadgets that they can use to intensify their acts.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, the Executive Director of CRI, Mr Brigt Kweku Appiah, said, "CRI supports every punitive action taken by the school authorities against students that indulge in acts of indiscipline.
However, those actions must not be tailored primarily to punish students caught indulging in acts of misconduct like the seven female students of Ejisuman School were expelled from the house."
He went ahead to say that,"Expelling them from the boarding house doesn't not solve the problem and rather aggravates ig since they now have full access to gadgets that they can use to intensify their acts."
The CRI, Mr Appiah said recommends that the GES in partnership with social authorities focus on establishing a programme that addresses the social needs of students in SHS.
He was of the view that parading the students in front of the whole school was also not the best, describing how six out of the students were laughing at the authorities with the exception of one who looked remorseful.
"As an organisation, punishment as a means of correction is not the solution. The solution to any social disorder lies in diagnoses and appropriate treatment to that disorder. Therefore it is our decision that institutions confronted with such problems must first diagnose issues and deal with it in specific related conditions," he said.
Mr Appiah added that, "What is required is to ensure that counselling services are made available to these students in order to take them through proper rehabilitation maintenance programmes. The role in societal reformation is one of the many ways in addressing the social disorders among students."
He also opined that publishing the names of the students was a wrong move on the part of the school authorities since that would further push them down. According to him, Institutions must rather protect the best interest of children in such cases.
"Even under juvenile justice system, the court of competent jurisdiction do not expose the children in a way that would degrade their self worth," he said. He further said that,"Publishing their names is purely a criminal offence. If the children are ready to take it up we will support them…"
Meanwhile, Mr Appiah called on the GES to open discussion on its rules and regulations and subject it to review in order to conform to new development and ever day issues.
"Many countries are reviewing their codes and looking for better ways of correcting children in a way that would make them become better and not the other way round. Additionally, the GES must give standards for all Heads to meet as a target in the promotion of discipline," he said. In a research conducted by the CRI, it observed that most schools that are in category A and B hardly show these tendencies. He noted that so far, most videos come from category C schools. "A critical look must be taken to find out the cause for the reality and implement measures to ensure that all schools irrespective of their category adhere to the same disciplinary standards set by the GES," he stated. The CRI also found that the phones used by the students to record the video did not belong to them, stating that they had access to the phone during visiting hours.
The said video, the CRI also realised was not uploaded by the students.
The CRI therefore suggested that steps are taken by school authorities to implement safe guarding policies that regulate the actions of outside parties during their visits in schools.
"These parties include parents, relatives, friends amongst others and must abide by the discipline standards set by school authorities, both in their actions and inactions," he added.
Ghana|Atinkaonline.com| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori