Mayor to write to children who wee in public

The city of Ghent has good news for naughty kids and even better news for their parents. The Burgomaster of Ghent, Daniël Termont, has decided that Ghent will not make use of the opportunity of including 14 and 15-year-olds among those who may receive a nuisance fine. Instead the Mayor of Ghent will write to the parents of any child that the local authorities believe is causing a nuisance.

Nuisance fines are controversial. Ghent does not want to follow other municipalities and issue nuisance fines on account of delinquent behaviour by 14 and 15-year-olds, but is keen to take some action.

In future under-16's caught urinating in public or being too rowdy can look forward to a letter from the burgomaster. If the youngster reoffends before the age of 16 he or she can look forward to a visit from the youth inspector. Mayor Daniël Termont concedes that the approach is somewhat paternalistic, but sees no other alternative. He is unwilling to allow total impunity for such acts.

What will be in the letter the Ghent authorities still need to decide, but the mayor hopes to introduce the letter before the summer holidays.

The proposal has been welcomed by the main opposition party of Ghent city council, the Flemish Patriot Party N-VA.