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School CP - June 2003

Ghanaian Chronicle, Accra, 3 June 2003

KOSS students on the rampage

From David Prosper Naoh
In Konongo

Enraged unidentified final year students of the Konongo-Odumasi Secondary School (Great KOSS) on Wednesday night went on rampage, vandalised and ransacked the school's premises and left in their trail, fifteen missing computers and several other items.

The rampaging students who took advantage of a power black-out, courtesy of a Volta River Authority (VRA) outage which culminated in a cable belonging to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) exploding, had been angered by the sending home of twenty-two of their colleagues.

Chronicle gathered that the school's board decided at the beginning of the term that an assessment of the students' performance be taken and thereafter, directed that a cost-free one hour's extra classes each day be held for them to ensure maximum returns.

The school's management, having implemented the directive three weeks ago, realised that the attendance subsequently kept on declining.

Consequently, forty-two students were on Wednesday last week caned for not attending the extra classes.

It was, however, detected that twenty-two students had continuously absented themselves from both the normal and extra classes.

To address that problem, the school authorities summoned the recalcitrant 22 on Wednesday May 28, and served them with letters to proceed home.

They will however, be allowed to write their Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE).

The sources said about 7:00 p.m. the same day, missiles ranging from stones, sticks and other implements started flying like scud missiles, with the Administration block, the Assembly hall, the Senior House mistress's office as the target.

As the darkness climaxed, so did the vandalism, whose victims included the School's Bedford truck with registration number GV 2756 A, which suffered a smashed windscreen, while pipelines, door, windows, louvre blades, phone booths and the fenced walls were torn down.

It was not immediately known whether the attackers were the affected students or their sympathizers or both as investigations are still ongoing.

The vast majority of the students took refuge at the residency of the headmaster and behind the Administration block.

The unidentified attackers allegedly also stole cutlasses, smashed some computers and took some away.

As at the time of Chronicle's visit on Thursday, May 29, an assessment of the damage and loss was still being done.

An uneasy calm returned to the campus after the Buffalo Unit of the Ghana Police arrived from Kumasi at 10:00 p.m.

In an interview the headmaster of Great Koss, Mr. Kwame Ameyaw Yamoah denied that 150 of the 473 SSS3 students had been sent home as claimed by some of the students Chronicle spoke to.

He showed a list on which he had asterixed [sic] the names of those affected, totalling 22 and denied that they had been dismissed.

Ameyaw said as an administrator he had expected the parents of the students to go to the school and that the board was scheduled to meet on the issue on Friday, adding "no headmaster or teacher will take a decision that will jeopardise his students' future," and termed their being sent home as indefinite suspension.

Meanwhile, the district chief executive, Mr. George Frimpong, the district director of Education, Mr. Bediako-Poku and the Konongo divisional police commander, Chief Superintendent Daniel O. Laryeah have been to the school to appeal for calm.

The DCE warned that the government will not tolerate any further acts of indiscipline, or else the school will be closed down.

Chronicle gathered that five Form One students were picked up on the night of the incident for loitering, but Ameyaw does not think they were involved. There were, however, no reports of injury.

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