$93,000 T-shirt -- 07/06/00

Yes, that's how much taxpayer money the Westerly (R.I.) school system has spent in a futile attempt to block a high school student from wearing a White Zombie t-shirt to school. The state education department has determined that no disruption of classes took place nor had there been any intention of disruption and, further, that the dress code was unconstitutionally vague.

The school system, which has a dress code that prohibits clothing indicating or implying membership in a gang or cult, claimed that the shirt espoused or promoted Satanism and therefore was likely to cause disruption to the learning process. Not all of the $93,000 was spent on lawyers and court costs; some of it went to hire a private investigator (who was a supposed expert in cults) to testify to the court about the dangers of Satan worship and Satanic cults.


That $93,000 could have bought a lot of textbooks and equipment or paid for additional staff training or perhaps even another teacher or two... (And the cash cost is not the only cost... just consider how many days and weeks of over-paid administrator time was wasted on this idiotic case.) Since the Westerly shcools receive state aid, it's not just the Westerly taxpayer who has to pay for this; these jerks were wasting my money as well.

This is very much like the administrative incompetance that leads to Zero Tolerance policies. Suspend a student for giving another an aspirin tablet. Suspend elementary school students for pointing fingers and making "bang-bang" sounds while playing at recess. Idiots.

I am nearing the end of my third week of attempting to lose weight and get into shape and I'm feeling pretty good about my efforts (and results) to date.

The first week I really didn't worry too much about diet (partly because it included our anniversary and I knew we would be going out to dinner, etc.) However, I did sort of leap into action in terms of working out that week. After too many weeks of getting in one or two runs of maybe two or three miles, I kind of jump started my running (yes, I know, not such a good idea, but...) and got in 16 miles from that Saturday (June 18th) thru Sunday (June 24th).

The second week I ran 12 miles... but also got in a lot of walking, a six mile hike in the mountains, and a ten mile bike ride. I also cut back on food and between workouts and diet managed to lose two pounds.

This week I've run 14 miles so far, plus about eleven miles of biking and I've kept up the diet. So far this week I've lost another two pounds. The weight loss is good, encouraging me that I've got the right formula for success, plus I really am beginning to feel some results from my running.

I'm not alone in this drive to lose weight. Bev Sykes' journal Bev Sykes is very determined to lose weight; in fact, although I had been telling myself that I needed to diet, I think it was Bev's announcement in her journal that she was going to lose weight that gave me the final push I needed. (Thanks Bev... and thanks for the link too.)

And the weather has been beautiful!

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