PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — A 15-year old girl who violated the law on compulsory education by not going to school for 67 days appeared in a hearing by the public prosecutor on Tuesday.
She was accompanied by her mother. In this case a proces-verbaal was made by the truancy officer and sent to the prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office summoned the minor suspect and her mother to appear in a so called “TOM-zitting”.
This is a hearing by the prosecutor in which the intention is to deal with the case with a transaction like a community service, a training or compulsory guidance. After hearing the minor and her mother the prosecutor decided that compulsory youth probation is necessary.
Youth probation is executed by the Court of Guardianship, who has two trained youth probation workers. The minor needs to cooperate with all the youth probation deems necessary for a period of 2 years. If she fails to do so, or if she violates the law again, the case will be brought before the judge.
The Prosecutor’s Office points out that in similar cases, prosecution of parent(s) is also possible, especially when it is clear that the responsible parent has not made enough efforts to make sure the child is in school.
The Prosecutor’s Office is currently working on a Guideline on compulsory education together with the Truancy department, so that more cases can be successfully prosecuted.