Students of Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region who left campus after a string of student deaths have turned down an invitation from school authorities to return to school.
Almost all the nearly 3,000 students vacated the school’s premises after four students died in separate incidents within the space of 15 days triggering fear and panic on campus. It was rumoured the students died of food poisoning but the authorities quickly dispelled the rumours.
Media reportage of the incidents led to chaotic scenes where parents thronged the school to take their wards home. Some of the students also marched in protest to the quarters of their authorities demanding to be sent home.
Assistant Headmaster of the school, Ernest Wiafe has maintained the deaths occurred outside the school whilst parent were taking care of their children.
“We do not know the cause of the death, however, they did not die here on campus,” he told Joy News.
With a day to the start of the school’s internal exams for students in forms one and two, the school authorities have implored the students who are home to return.
Joy News’ checks at the school reveal normal academic work has resumed despite the absence of some students.
But the students who went home say they do not feel safe enough to return to the school’s premises.
They want some assurances from the school authorities that the situation on campus is safe for them to return.
Some KUMACA students who spoke to Joy News were unanimous in their call on the school authorities to close down the school pending the outcome of investigations into the deaths.
“I am in class with one of the [deceased] and I know his behaviour. He is always punctual and self-disciplined and he doesn’t do anything bad,” one student said.
He noted he is afraid to return to the school because he does not “know when it will be my turn.”
Another also said he was not prepared to go back unless autopsy reports prove the students died of something other than food poisoning.
Meanwhile the Regional Ghana Education Service (GES) has commenced counselling of the students.
Ashanti Regional GES PRO, Cassandra Twum-Ampofo, told Joy News they are doing all they can to allay the fears of the students.
“We have our counsellors on board, and the Scripture Union (SU) has also taken up the issue. We are trying to address the issue.”