“An official complaint has to be filed by the police force for the detective of juvenile department to start an official criminal investigation in coordination with the Public Prosecutor office.” a source told 721news.
HOPE ESTATE, Sint Maarten — On March 8, 2018, 721news reported that a male, Dutch Language teacher at the Marie Genevieve De Weever Primary School was suspended for alleged misconduct.
Our newsroom was reliably informed that the teacher was caught by a student allegedly recording under the skirt of another student with a digital device. The teacher was sent home pending further investigation by the School Board (Division of Public Education).
On Saturday March 24, 2018, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, Jorien Wuite, issued a press release in the local Newspaper, indicating “an inquiry was completed by the Court of Guardianship and the Prosecutor’s office, where it was determined that the information gathered did not provide any evidence that supports the accusation”. Hence the teacher resumed work on Wednesday March 21, 2018.
The teacher who was sent home in the past was teaching before at a secondary School. Various reports reaching our news desk have indicated this is not the first incidence in which his name was brought forth.
Various parents who attended the meeting regarding the incident at the school last week Thursday contacted 721news, stating that the Principal, Mrs. Grantham, bluntly informed them that the teacher would be returning to school and that parents should stop scandalizing the teacher’s name as the case is closed. Parents were surprised as this was the first time that the school met with them to discuss the incident. Although a few of the parents heard about the incident from their children, the school never notified them officially of what was actually going on.
A parent who wants to remain unidentified told our newsroom “This means the little victim parents was never official notified and the children them self never gave a statement to the school board investigation team. But I have to say a minor cannot be question without their parents.” They continue saying that this is completely against the law.
The press release given by the Minister Wuite clearly stated the Court of Guardianship and the Prosecutors office carried out an investigation. This is quite surprising, as information reaching our newsroom has indicated that the prosecutor’s office did not carry out a formal investigation.
On Friday March 23 our newsroom contacted the Chief Commissioner of police Mr. Carl John for a confirmation if the Government has file an official complaint at the juvenile dept. on behalf of Mr John, acting Police spokesman Inspector Rensely Henson confirm 721news that no official complaint was filed by the KPS juvenile department
721news was made aware that an individual, acting on behalf of the Minster, contacted the Prosecutors office and was informed that the manner in which they (Minister’s rep) were trying to handle the case was not the way the procedure is carried out. The Division of Public Education still went forward and executed their own investigation. Our source told us “How is this possible? people start believing they are above the law and the children rights are being violated”
We did a little research and found out that there is a National Policy on Child Abuse which clearly indicates that if there is any indication that there is a child abuse allegation/case, the court of guardianship should be immediately contacted. However, the Division of Public Education decided to take matters into their own hands and conduct an investigation as if they were the competent authorities to do so.
The parents, who contacted 721news, have made it clear that they are very concerned about the manner in which this situation has been handled. They strongly believe that the investigation was not handled appropriately. They are hoping that this case can be looked into by the Police juvenile department and the Prosecutor’s office as there are parents and students who are willing to come forward with valuable information.
They also hope the Council of Minister (COM) can hold the Minister of Education together with all who took part of the “illegal” investigation countable for violating Sint Maarten Government National Policy on Child Abuse and also to be in violation of the children right based on UNICEF International Laws or Agreements.
As more information regarding this incident becomes available, we will bring you an update.