PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten (29 August 2021) – The new school year started less than a month ago and already the Police Force of Sint Maarten and Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM has had to tackle fights among students outside of school premises.
This latest show of aggressive behavior has landed two minors behind bars. They were arrested for participating in a fight filmed by other students. One of the minors is seen on the video supplying the other with brass knuckle rings used to injury a third student. The injured student had to be tended to at the hospital. He was released after his wounds were treated.
The preliminary police investigation found that the basis for the brutal fight was set a few days ago at which time the injured student was reportedly threatened by his suspected attackers.
The police do not rule out further arrests in this case.
KPSM and OM SXM urge students to think deeply about their actions, keep tempers in check, and avoid starting or instigating fights. Participation in fights around school areas can land participants in trouble with the law, and getting in contact with the law can harm future prospects - everything from gaining entrance into institutions of higher education to job prospects. Aiding someone in a fight can constitute complicity, which is also punishable by law.
Further, fights create an unfriendly and unsafe atmosphere for fellow students and set a bad example for other (younger) students. Bystanders who cheer on and/or film videos of these fights should reflect on their behavior as they are creating and contributing to an atmosphere where people get hurt.
Fights involving minors outside of school premises are unacceptable and punishable by the Court. Highlighting this was the sentence of three minors on March 18, 2021. They were sentenced to community service of 60 to 100 hours for mistreating another minor in a fight outside of their school in January 2021. This is not the only case in which minors have received sentences for similar offenses.
Violence, in and around schools, is not acceptable, and will not go unpunished. The basis for these fights is often laid during school hours, escalating to violence at the end of the school day when the minors are just outside of the school ground. Minors are usually still in their school uniforms at the time of such incidents.
Violence in and around the school is prioritized by the Joint Committee on Youth and Crime JCO. This committee is composed of representatives from OM SXM, the Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM, Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten SJIS, the Court of Guardianship, and the Truancy Office of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. The committee’s goal is to coordinate policies and case strategies in an early phase to prevent crimes committed by the youth.