Fourth-Grade Student Gets Restraining Order

It seems that bullying is not getting any better, and not getting any smarter either. But then again, bullies aren't usually known for being clever-that's why they're bullies. They rarely have any skills besides intimidation and bulk.

One young man at Mission Bell Elementary School has added another tool to his bullying arsenal-a knife. Luckily, a knife doesn't have the same potential for mass killings like a machine gun, but deadly nonetheless. Robert Casteel has secured a restraining order on a fellow student of his son Christopher, alleging that he pulled a knife on his son.

It was also alleged that the suspect used the very same cliché that bullies have been using for years: He told Christopher that he would "get you after school." We will agree that he probably needs new material. Did the suspect find his dad's VHS of Back to the Future?

His patter is beside the point. The point, very literally here, is the alleged knife. Although a 2-1/2-inch pocket knife was recovered in the police investigation, the student who has been served the restraining order denied making any threats.

True, the denial is another bully "stand-by". But let's also think a minute. Children these days have watched more TV, have access to the Internet and can be generally devious. We always wonder if making up allegations about another student is a way for these youths to get back at each other-or teachers. Look at the case against former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine in Syracuse, New York; now two of the accusers admit lying about the allegations.

We certainly don't think that Christopher Casteel being threatened with a knife is anything to dismiss, but a restraining order? That sounds a little like putting the cart before the horse. How about trying some disciplinary action from the school? The elder Casteel alleges that the Mission Bell Elementary staff have been lenient with the aggressor. Maybe that's because he's not as bad as your son has told you he is?

What do you feel about this subject? Do you think that other types of action could have been taken by the school or Robert Casteel before a restraining order was served? Please let us know in the comments below.

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