A teacher at the Komenda Senior High School (SHS) allegedly delivered forty (40) lashes to a student of the school that left the teenager badly bruised on her bottom, reports say.
The student has been identified as Sarafina Mensah who reportedly left school without exeat – permission from school authorities. The corporal punishment she received was therefore in response to this law-breaking.
Mensah and a colleague had broken bounds on Sunday, June 20, to buy food outside the school.
Komenda’s headteacher, Ama Sika, is said to have first asked the two students to kneel after they were found out on their return to the school. She then proceeded to administer the punishment, leaving Mensah bruised and bloodied on her derriere.
The student is said to have informed her housemistress and then visited a hospital afterwards.
The Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service have reportedly been informed.
Caning in Ghanaian schools
The Ghana Education Service (GES) officially banned all forms of corporal punishment in all schools under its jurisdiction in 2017. The most popular form of corporal penalty was caning.
The ban was said to have been in the spirit of encouraging safe and protective learning. Having been a very old form of punishment in the Ghanaian formal education sector, caning was defended at the time by some teachers and parents.
But in 2019, the GES released a Positive Discipline Toolkit that was supposed to be an alternative to corporal punishment in schools.
In spite of these reforms, Ghanaian law still recognises corporal punishment in disciplining children.
Section 31(i) of The Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) provides that force or harm may be justified on the grounds of an authority to correct a child, servant, or other similar person, for misconduct.