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17.02.2006 General News

St Peter’s closes down

St Peter's Secondary School at Nkwatia Kwahu in the Eastern Region has been closed down indefinitely as a result of students' riot on Wednesday night.

All the students have since left the compound except members of the Students Representative Council (SRC) who have been asked to assist with investigations.

The students decided to go on the rampage following the decision of the school authorities to sanction some students who broke bounds and went to Mpraeso on Valentine's Day to participate in the Valentine's Day celebrations against school regulations.

A source at the school told the Daily Graphic that contrary to the directives of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to school authorities not to allow the use of mobile phones by students, some of the students possessed mobile phones, some of which they used to operate “communication centres” at the school's playground, sometimes late into the night.

It said at about 11pm on Wednesday, the authorities of the school conducted a search in the dormitories and seized some mobile phones as a disciplinary measure. That apparently incensed the students to go on the rampage, causing damage to the bungalows of some of the tutors.

The source said the authorities managed, during the course of investigations, to identify some of the students who had participated in the Valentine's Day celebrations at Mpraeso.

It said when the students were confronted over the two events, they all accepted responsibility, instead of showing remorse, compelling the authorities to ask all of them to go home.

It explained that as a result of the riots, all the students had been asked to re-apply.

When contacted, the Assistant Headmaster in charge of Administration, Father Daniel Lenwah, said, "We have taken all the SRC executives as chief suspects until we finish with our investigations on Saturday," he said.

He condemned the action of the students and said those found guilty would be dealt with according to GES regulations. "All the students will be screened before being admitted".

The students, on their part, expressed concern about their relationship with the authorities of the school.

They cited an instance when the senior prefect was punished in the full glare of the student population.

According to them, he was given corporal punishment in front of the students, saying that that action by his school authorities undermined the authority.

The students also decried the poor human relations of some of the tutors who had no feeling for the concerns of the students.

According to the students, the tutors who conducted the search in the dormitories swooped on them as if they were common criminals, dipping their hands into their food items, particularly gari, because it was suspected that the students hid their phones in the gari.

They said when the teachers refused to heed their appeal to stop the search, since the teachers could pass poisonous substances to them, the students decided to react, which unfortunately ended violently.

The Kwahu South District Chief Executive (DCE), Nana Onwona Asante, who confirmed the story, said he was liaising with the District Director of Education and the school authorities to address the situation so that the students could return to school as soon as possible.