Brickbats

If the kids at Weems Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia, don't have fresh breath, don't blame them. Blame the school's zero-tolerance policy on drugs. The school suspended 9-year-old Joey Hoeffer after they found him passing out Certs breath mints. The school's policy bans not only drugs but also any "look-alike" that a reasonable person would believe is a "controlled or illegal substance." School officials apparently think it's reasonable to think breath mints might be drugs. Says Joey's father, "He's not a breath-mint addict or anything like that."

And if kids in the New Caney Independent School District outside Houston aren't as religious as they used to be, don't blame them. The district bans "gang apparel" such as baggy pants, bandanas, and rosary beads. One area gang uses the beads as part of its colors, but Catholics who aren't gang members say that they are being discriminated against. School officials have never confiscated a gun or confirmed gang violence on school grounds in the rural district.

Ricardo Enamorado's jet ski stalled on Lake Michigan and he was hopelessly stranded--500 yards from shore. The Coast Guard rescued him two days later. "He was just sitting there, waiting for us to get to him," said a Coast Guard spokesman. Enamorado was suffering from dehydration. He apparently didn't know that Lake Michigan is freshwater.

Alabama Gov. Fob James has weighed in on a thorny political issue: school prayer. The governor sent a 34-page letter to a federal judge who struck down the state's school prayer law. Fob says the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to the states. If a state wants prayer in schools, that's fine, he says. Presumably, if a state wants to ban newspapers and churches and take property without compensation, that's also OK.

Peter Rombold has a dream. He wants to run the first matador school in the United States. So far, he teaches a handful of people for free at his school near San Diego. But animal-rights activists are trying to shut Rombold down. Since bullfighting is illegal in the United States, Rombold doesn't actually use bulls in training--he just pretends he's a bull and charges at students. It seems to work. Three of his students have successfully tested their skills in Mexico. California state law also prohibits advertising or "promoting" bullfights. The activists say Rombold is breaking that law, and they are encouraging authorities to arrest him.

Saudi Arabia has banned the import and production of veils that don't cover a woman's face. Until now, women in that country were forced to wear a black cloak and head scarf in public but were allowed to show their faces. But on advice of the nation's leading theologian, the Saudis have adopted rules requiring women to cover their faces as well.

Ronald Daniel says he can't remember what happened the night Michele Clark broke his jaw. But she says he harassed her at a bar, following her into the ladies' room and grabbing her butt. She tried to leave, but he followed her again, cornering her in an alley and grabbing her breasts. So she kneed him in the groin and left. But he still followed her, catching her two blocks from the bar and grabbing her again. This time she knocked him to the sidewalk and kicked him several times. A jury believed her story but decided Clark should have walked away again after she had knocked him down, and that the kicks were aggravated assault. She now faces 20 years in prison.

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