PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Public Prosecutor’s Office is concerned about the rise in school fights this year. Not only has an increase in violent fights been observed, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has also taken note of the use of weapons during these fights or groups of youngsters are ganging up on one individual.
This development is worrying professionals in the field. Together with the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM), the Court of Guardianship, Youth Probation Officers and Truancy Officers, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is committed to addressing this issue.
Youngsters who gang up on one individual risk being arrested and prosecuted. Those who take pleasure in filming these fights run the risk of being reported to Facebook and eventually the deletion of their Facebook account.
However our joint efforts cannot be successful unless the government commits to providing a juvenile detention centre for boys and girls. As well arrange for a youth institution to execute court decisions, in cases where the ruling states that endangered youngsters should be placed in a closed care facility.
Such a facility currently does not exist on Sint Maarten and the Miss Lalie Centre still remains closed. There have been many appeals to the government to have this facility re-opened.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has over time observed several situations where children were wandering homeless on our island and are threatened in their development. This issue calls for prompt action from government.