By Gifty Xornam Adonoo and Andy Oppong Dankyi
Some concerned Ghanaians have expressed their opinions on alternative punishments that can be meted out to the eight Chiana Students who publicly disrespected the President following the president’s intervention in their dismissal. The eight students were captured in a viral video last year insulting President Akufo-Addo. Consequently, the Ghana Education Service ordered their dismissal from the school. Their dismissal generated a lot of reactions from Ghanaians causing the President to intervene. GBC news sought the views of some Ghanaians on alternative sanctions that could serve as a form deterrent to the students. A cross section of Ghanaians believe the dismissal of the students was harsh and suggested other forms of punishment.
“Every school and institution have rules and regulations that govern it so I believe the high school in question is having enough sanctions for the students. I trust the institution has put sanctions in place for the students so let’s go with whatever sanctions the school has for them.”, A young man said
A National Service Personnel says other alternative forms of punishment rather than dismissal would have been appropriate. “Well looking at the students, they are very energetic so a more appropriate punishment would be probably a few days suspension coupled with community labour. Yeah, they can do that job well”
The Ghana Education Service ,GES, in 2017 officially banned all forms of corporal punishment but considering the offence of this students, was it prudent to revisit it and ensure they serve a punishment that will be deterrent enough? A Sociologist who pleaded anonymity had this to say.
“Yeah, in this day and age, we are moving away from corporal punishment as means of punishing students and kids that misbehave. More often, we are asked to write up apology letters. Apology letters that should be written by the students themselves and not by somebody to the president and also to their schools because the embarrassment is not just to the president, it is also an embarrassment to their schools, so they should write. They should be given rigorous academic activities to undertake as a form of punishment. That way they know that, the next time they are going to misbehave, they’ll be getting loads of academic activities to do.
However, some people also believe that the students should be pardoned for their mistakes since they have publicly apologized.
“I personally think they should not punish the kids again. Why do we punish people? You punish people for them to stop what they were doing earlier on and looking at how the girls came out and asked for forgiveness, I think they are okay now. What the girls need now is people to counsel them so that they can become good people in the society in the near future.” another Officer suggested.
“They should make them sign a bond of good behavior. They shouldn’t dismiss them.” a nurse said.
A teacher who expressed his sentiment said the dismissal was the best punishment to be meted out to the students to serve as a warning to their colleagues. He however suggested that since the President has intervened, the students should be made to work on campus during class hours.
“I don’t want the president to intervene so that they get to serve the punishment. The dismissal will mean that no other school will admit them and this will be a lesson to others. Oh!!, you insult a whole President of the country, but now that the president has intervened, I think the best punishment they can give to them should be more like a suspension.
But this suspension, they should just be in the school and be working. Let them be doing works in school for at least either a month or 3 weeks. No class for them.”
Just as the Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, pointed out students must be measured in their utterances and desist from insulting elders in society. The gang of eight may be lucky at this time, but one may never know when the law will be made to bite.