Did you hear the one about the 9 year old boy who had an Order of Protection entered against him in Missouri that barred him from attending his elementary school until a court hearing happens? Based on media reports that the 9 year old threatened to kill other children and told them that his mother carried a gun in her purse, such an “ex parte” (without the alleged wrongdoer having notice and the opportunity to be heard) order appears to be entirely appropriate.
While Orders of Protection ordering one person not to abuse, threaten to abuse, stalk or be within a specific distance of another is most often entered in situations involving persons who have a child together or members of the same household, such an order may also issue when one person (adult or child) has harassed an unrelated person (adult or child) by engaging in a purposeful or knowing course of conduct, involving more than one incident, that alarms or causes distress to an adult or child and serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct that will support entry of an Order of Protection must actually cause substantial distress to the person seeking the Order of Protection and be such that it would cause a reasonable adult or child to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Examples of harassment listed in the law include, but are in no way limited to: following another in a public place, peering in the window or lingering outside the residence, sexual assault or unlawful imprisonment (abducting another or holding them against their will).
The Order of Protection to Chapter 455 of the Missouri Statutes just might be the tool that parents of bullied children are seeking.