WARREN (AP) — Hundreds of Michigan parents are going to
court each year to seek orders protecting their children from
bullies. Last year, courts issued 696 personal protection orders
against minors.

Christine DeLorme of Warren is behind one such order.

She said she forbade her 10-year-old son to walk to a
friend’s house without a walkie-talkie in hand because of an
11-year-old neighborhood bully.

The other boy delivered a regular barrage of taunting and name
calling, once grabbing her son off his bike and slapped him. The
other boy also spread rumors that her son had AIDS, she said. To
stop the abuse, DeLorme hand-wrote a request for a personal
protection order.

“All of these episodes are threatening to (my son) because
he is afraid of being beaten,” her request said. “It
gives (him) the feeling of dying.”

Personal protection orders in Michigan are still dominated by
adults. Juvenile cases make up about 2 percent.

Typically, a protection order prohibits assaults, attacks or
interfering with the victim’s job or education. It also can
prohibit approaching or confronting the victim, or contacting the
victim by telephone.

Constant bullying is tantamount to domestic violence, but courts
still are more willing to grant protection to an abused spouse than
to a bullied child, said Glenn Stutzky, clinical instructor at
Michigan State University’s School of Social Work.

“The children who are the ongoing targets at school
don’t have any less feelings of pain, any less feelings of
fearfulness and any less feelings of hopelessness,” Stutzky
said. He said he advises parents and kids to go to court as a last
resort to stop harassment.

About 30 percent of students nationally say they have been
involved in bullying, either as the perpetrator, victim or both,
according to a 2001 study funded by the National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development, which surveyed 15,600 American
students in grades six to 10.

Ryan Gallus spent some of his high school years watching his
back after he was jumped by older youths at age 16.

“It had a big impact,” said Gallus, now 18 and a
freshman at Adrian College playing basketball and baseball.
“You never want to go anywhere without your group of friends.
… We knew stuff could start. And all my friends learned from what
happened to me.”

On April 13, 2002, Gallus was attacked after driving to St.
Clair Shores to fish with friends.

There, a group of older teens from another high school singled
him out, surrounded him and beat him until his face was bloody, he
said.

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