Thursday, May 26, 2005

Lofy pleads not guilty to disorderly conduct ticket - LAKE GENEVA AND WILLIAMS BAY TIMES

Attorney says behavior is protected speech

By Carrie Dampier

Kerry Lofy pleaded not guilty last week to a disorderly conduct ticket he received two days after his May 7 prom in which he allegedly engaged in sexually risqu» behavior.

Lofy’s attorney, Erik Guenther, filed the written plea on behalf of his client May 17, essentially excusing Lofy from having to make an appearance in Lake Geneva Municipal Court May 24. Guenther said Lake Geneva City Attorney Michael Rielly will review the plea and will have the choice of either dismissing the citation or allowing it to move forward.

“I am confident that once Mr. Rielly reads the correspondence he will choose not to move forward,” said Guenther last Thursday.

Guenther said a pretrial date will be set at a future time.

Lofy made headlines nationwide when he wore a dress, platinum blonde wig and high-heeled shoes while escorting a gay friend to the school prom earlier this month. School officials refused to let him in with the dress on, but did allow him to enter later, when he returned with a leisure suit on over the dress. When Lofy engaged in a sort of dance number in which he and another male student were both lying prone on the dance floor, Lofy was kicked out of the prom.

Lofy is not gay and has said both the dress and the dancing were meant to be entertaining. He has agreed not to speak to the media while fighting the ticket.

When Lofy showed up for school the next Monday, he was issued a $249 disorderly conduct ticket by the Lake Geneva Police Department and received a three-day suspension from the school. Lofy was also forced to sit out one track and field meet, which happened to be the Southern Lakes Conference meet the next week.

Guenther, an attorney who specializes in civil rights, said both the school and the police violated Lofy’s first amendment rights to free expression.

Because school officials warned Lofy the day before prom not to wear the dress, then refused to let him in until he had on more traditional male clothing, Guenther said the school violated his first amendment rights, as well as his rights under an equal protections clause.

“We also believe Mr. Lofy’s attire and alleged conduct does not give rise to a disorderly conduct ticket,” Guenther added. “That citation, while not criminal, will follow Mr. Lofy for the rest of his life.”

Guenther said he asked the school to issue an apology to Lofy for not allowing him into the prom with a dress on, but the school refused to do so.

Badger Superintendent Dr. James Gottinger has said Lofy’s punishment had less to do with his choice of attire and much more to do with his actions on the Riviera Ballroom dance floor that night. He also said Lofy’s suspension was “absolutely” not an anti-gay statement by the district, but that because Lofy had been told not to wear the dress several times, he openly defied authority and that by wearing the dress and then by engaging in inappropriate dance behavior he broke the district’s code of conduct.

Calling the ticket and other punishments ridiculous, Guenther added, “There is nothing to suggest that Kerry meant harm to anyone” that night.

Guenther said he has advised Lofy to file a lawsuit against the school district, but said Lofy has no interest in litigation.

“That speaks volumes about who is as a person,” said Guenther of Lofy’s refusal to pursue legal channels.

Still, Guenther said Badger isn’t necessarily in the clear.

“This is a concern for civil rights groups across the country,” he said. “Were I on the school board I would be looking at this hard. … The district’s actions has painted a target on its back.”

Guenther said first amendment protections are afforded minors, even while at school, and that time and again courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court have protected unpopular expressions.

Civics 101: Lofy’s actions a lesson in First Amendment rights - LAKE GENEVA AND WILLIAMS BAY TIMES

Last year, Kerry Lofy picked up his date for the Badger High School junior prom at her house, complimented her on the beautiful dress she wore, and enjoyed dancing the night away both fast and close with her at the prom.

This year, Lofy again picked up his date, but this year, he was the one receiving the compliments on the beautiful dress. He also enjoyed dancing fast and close to his date.

It was an enjoyable evening – until he was arrested.

Lofy’s silly prank pales in comparison to the outrageous overreaction of adults to his actions.

When Lofy donned a black spaghetti strap dress and high-heeled shoes and accompanied a gay friend to the school’s prom May 7, then engaged in sexually risqu» dancing with another male student, he raised eyebrows and incited anger among the school’s administration and local police.

He was openly defiant of the “rules.” Sounds like a typical teenager, doesn’t it?

And for that open defiance – and questionable behavior at a school function – school officials administered what they believed to be an appropriate punishment; Lofy was suspended for three days and the star athlete was made to sit out of the Lakeshore Conference track and field meet.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough of a punishment, because the Lake Geneva Police Department issued Lofy a $249 disorderly conduct ticket for his busted moves on the dance floor.

When attorney Erik Guenther heard about the actions taken against Lofy by both the police department and the school district, he cried foul and took up arms in the fight for Lofy’s First Amendment rights.

He’s right on the mark.

No matter what tests have been thrown at this civil liberty, the first-ever amendment to the United States Constitution, which was ratified by Congress on Dec. 15, 1791 – and there have been some pretty big tests – this basic right has been faithfully and readily upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

In those 200 years – despite a vastly different society with a whole new set of standards – the freedom to express an opinion is still considered by the highest court in the land to be among the most important and basic of our civil liberties – even for school children.

In Street v. New York, the high court upheld a citizen’s right to desecrate the American flag. In Terminiello v. Chicago, the court said anti-Semitic rantings were protected speech. In R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, the high court even said burning a cross on the property of a black family by a white supremacist group was also protected expression under the First Amendment.

In order to be truly free, so says the Supreme Court, a society must bear the cost of certain expressions – even expressions that embarrass the sensibilities of the majority, that degrade the dignity of an entire race, or that make parents, school administration and perhaps teens uncomfortable in terms of sexual preference.

No, Kerry Lofy didn’t do anything so insidious as burn a cross, or spew racist, bigoted viewpoints at his prom. He just wanted to help out a friend who didn’t have a date to the prom. And he wanted to have fun with it. And he certainly did not mean to harm anyone with his dress or his dancing – no matter how over the top he was.

Even if he did, the First Amendment affords his right to do so. Which means the disorderly conduct ticket is unjustified and a violation of his First Amendment rights.

It also means the Badger High School administration strayed dangerously far from fundamental civics lessons, putting a clamp down on an open-minded and tolerant educational environment crucial to a well-balanced society.

When did offensive behavior become a crime? What offends some may not offend others. Such subjective differences have no place in a free society that blows its own horn of acceptance and tolerance. And, again, consistently, the Supreme Court has upheld this belief.

Kerry Lofy pleaded not guilty to the disorderly conduct ticket last week. Lake Geneva City Attorney Mike Rielly must now decide if the city will pursue the charges against Lofy, or dismiss them.

It should be an easy decision for Mr. Rielly, who is essentially acting as the city’s conscience.

Agree with Kerry Lofy or don’t. Approve of what he did or don’t. But don’t let your opinion interfere with everyone’s right to freedom of expression.

Or someday, it could be you who has something to say, and no safe place to say it.

Carrie Dampier
Editor

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Avoiding the Social Security debate - THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Reforms may affect young workers most, but are they listening?
By GREG J. BOROWSKI
gborowski@journalsentinel.com
Posted: May 18, 2005

When the president - any president - talks about reforming Social Security, the ones who pay the most attention are those closest to retirement, or already there.

President Bush addresses a gathering of the National Association of Realtors last week, pitching his plan for Social Security.
Milwaukee Schedule
President Bush will deliver remarks and conduct a conversation on the future of social security Thursday morning before 400-500 invited guests in Milwaukee.


But as President Bush arrives in Milwaukee today to push his new reform plan, the ones with among the most at stake - younger workers - may be the ones paying the least attention of all.

To some, the issue is as remote as retirement, 30 or 40 years away. To others, the problems facing the system - chiefly the impending wave of baby boomer retirees - are so great, they defy hope of a solution.

Still others, in the wake of a bitterly contested election, simply don't trust Bush, believe the problem is overstated or are conditioned to be skeptical of any proposed cure-all fix for a system they don't believe will survive for them.

There is Stacy Conroy, a 33-year old Milwaukee resident, who is hopeful the system will be around for her 2-year-old son, but is leery of Bush's efforts to fix the system and acknowledges, "I have kind of a feeling it is going to go down anyway."

And there is Ivan Gamboa, a 26-year-old West Allis resident, who is interested in Bush's plan to allow some money to be invested in private accounts, but right now is putting any savings toward a house, thinking "that's the safest investment right now."

In general, there is skepticism, said Wendy Scattergood, an assistant professor of political science at St. Norbert College in De Pere.

"I don't think they believe anybody who says, 'It will be there for you,' " she said. "They just don't buy it."

In a recent statewide poll the college conducted with Wisconsin Public Radio, only 28% of the adults who responded said they approve of Bush's handling of the issue, while 63% disapproved and 9% were not sure.

However, the results differed when respondents were asked - without a reference to Bush - about allowing younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private accounts, a central piece of Bush's plan.

In that question, 52% favored the idea and 42% opposed it, with others unsure or not responding.

That sort of split is among the many challenges faced by Bush as he leads off his second term with what may go down as his biggest domestic policy fight.

Bush also faces fire from Democrats and other groups, who quickly organized protest events this week leading up to his Milwaukee visit. Even some Republicans in Congress have been slow to embrace Bush's plan, perhaps unsure it is what they will end up voting on.

Bush will talk about Social Security this morning at the Milwaukee Art Museum, his latest stop in a nationwide barnstorming tour to focus attention on the issue.

He was invited by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which emphasized its connection with the Young Professionals of Milwaukee group when it made the pitch for a presidential visit.

If today's visit follows the form of earlier stops, Bush's pitch will include the stark numbers: In three years, the first of the baby boomers will reach retirement age. In 12 years, by 2017, the system will be paying out more than it takes in, if nothing is changed.

By 2040, there will be two active workers paying into the system to support each recipient, down from today's 3-to-1 ratio, and much lower than the 16-to-1 ratio that existed in 1950.

Although many details still must be spelled out, Bush's plan would not make any changes for those already receiving Social Security, or who were born before 1950 - those now about 55.

It would use something known as "progressive indexing," which would let lower-income workers see larger increases in benefits than others.

Younger workers would be allowed to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in what Bush describes as "a conservative mix of bonds and stocks." The idea is that this would mean larger benefits for everyone in the future, without a deep cut in benefits or a tax increase, which he has ruled out.

Bush argues that the system must be fixed now, and that for every year nothing is done it adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing it.

Democrats, though, have criticized the plan, labeling it a "privatization" of Social Security that would shift money to Wall Street brokers even while cuts are made in benefits.

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle said the plan amounts to "borrowing trillions of dollars and wagering the future of Social Security on the stock market."

Talking Wednesday to about two dozen people at the Washington Park Senior Center, most of whom would not be affected by the proposed changes, Doyle said Bush has not established that a major overhaul is even needed.

"We're not in any crisis mode, despite the president's effort to build it up," said Doyle.

Bush's plan has led to dueling sets of numbers. In a recent speech in Washington, Bush cited a 26-year-old who earned $33,000 last year. That person, he said, would get $21,700 a year in today's dollars when she retires, or $3,800 more than the same person today.

Plug the same numbers into a Democratic calculator - labeled "Social Insecurity" - and it says the benefit would be $2,800 less than received today.

The future of Bush's plan may hinge in part on support from the younger workers.

They will be paying into the Social Security system as it takes in their boomer parents, and they would have the most time to benefit from any change allowing private investment accounts.

The St. Norbert/Wisconsin Public Radio poll, conducted between April 25 and May 4, found a similar split in this group.

Among younger respondents, the appeal of private accounts was strongest - 78% favorability for those age 18 to 24, with the numbers dropping by group to a low of 27% for those 65 and up.

The 18- to 24-year-olds gave Bush his best overall approval rating - 66%. But only 39% in that group approved of his handling of Social Security. Indeed, in each age group, Bush's approval for handling Social Security was far lower than his overall rating.

The poll, which questioned 400 state adults, had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

A challenge for Bush will be connecting with younger workers, who also tend to be less politically engaged than others.

"Just getting their attention will be difficult," said Scattergood of St. Norbert. "Even if you have their attention, trying to convince them that Social Security will be something other than a tax on them to pay for other people to retire will be very, very difficult."

Conroy is among those skeptical of the future of Social Security - and Bush's intentions as he moves to reform it.

"Overall, I pretty much stopped listening to anything the president has to say," said Conroy.

She and others question who will benefit most from putting some Social Security money into investments - and what will happen to those whose investment strategies do not pan out.

In many ways, the "personal savings account" concept is a natural fit for younger workers. They would have the most time to benefit from any growth in the investments.

And they have grown up in an age of IRAs and 401(k)s, not the straightforward pension-when-you-retire concept of their parents.

"From what I've heard, it's safe investments that have done well over the long term," said Gamboa, who works in marketing for a local law firm. "It's not anything risky that's getting invested."

Gamboa, who voted for Bush, said the issue is a big one for the growing Hispanic population, on average younger than many other groups. Yet, he said, there is little discussion about it among those his age.

"I think it's more of a political issue right now, and you don't talk politics too much with your friends," he said. "It's not something where you sit down and debate the pros and cons of Social Security."

Gamboa likes the idea of investing some money in a personal account, noting that the work-world is different today than when his father was able to work for decades at one place.

Others worry that some will make poor investment choices and are in need of the old-fashioned Social Security safety.

"President Bush's plan wrongly assumes everyone is a sophisticated investor," said Erik Guenther, 28, an attorney who lives in Madison.

He believes Bush's proposal doesn't address the real problem - funding. Guenther believes cuts need to be made elsewhere in the federal budget, or taxes increased, something Bush has ruled out.

Like many his age, though, he is not especially confident the system will be around when he reaches retirement age.

"I've paid into it and I hope it will be there," he said. "But I'm not counting on it."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Student who wore dress may file suit - APPLETON POST-CRESENT

18-year-old hopes citation will be dropped from prom controversy

By Ryan J. Foley
Associated Press Writer

One Wisconsin teenager who had a prom night he’ll never forget is fighting a disorderly conduct ticket after he wore a black, spaghetti-strap dress and blond wig to the event.

“The only thing that Mr. Lofy did wrong was wearing a purse that didn’t match the dress and open-toed shoes before Memorial Day,” said Madison lawyer Erik Guenther, who will represent Kerry Lofy. “There’s just no rational basis for the citation and the school district in telling him beforehand that he couldn’t do it.”

The senior at Badger High School in Lake Geneva will plead not guilty and ask the city to dismiss the ticket, which carries a fine of $249, Guenther said.

Guenther said he would also advise Lofy, 18, to file a lawsuit against the school for violating his First Amendment rights to free expression by telling him he couldn’t wear a dress and disciplining him for doing so.

Lofy was suspended for three days this week and ordered to miss his final track meet after wearing the dress to the May 7 prom and dancing in a sexually provocative manner, including lying on another student on the dance floor, school officials and police say.

Lofy, who plans to go to Colorado Mountain College in the fall and major in ski hill management, had indicated he wanted to fight the discipline, but said he could not afford an attorney.

Guenther, a criminal defense and constitutional law attorney, said his Madison law firm, Hurley, Burish & Milliken, S.C., volunteered to represent him free of charge.

“This is a $250 ticket but if you don’t protect the fringes of free speech, the next action is at your front door,” he said. “These acts cannot be tolerated.”

Lake Geneva school district administrator Jim Gottinger said Friday he was confident that the school’s dress code and rules for prom were appropriate and would be upheld in court.

He said most of the discipline was related to Lofy’s behavior at the event, and his insubordination for ignoring warnings about appropriate attire.

Gottinger refused to issue an apology, which Guenther demanded.

“I don’t see that we were in the wrong,” he said. “We think the attire for the prom is a formal event, and he not only wore a dress but a blond wig as well.”

Lofy says he is not gay but went to the prom with a gay friend who did not have a date. He had been warned by school authorities not to wear the dress. He was turned away at the door when he showed up in the dress, blue earrings, platform sandals and a necklace, and carrying a purse.

He returned an hour later in a leisure suit and was allowed to enter. During a risque dance routine that caught the attention of the 400 people there, the 6-foot, 185-pound Lofy ripped off his clothes to reveal the dress, according to a police report.

He was escorted from the building by a police officer and served with the ticket when he showed up for school Monday.

Student ticketed for wearing prom dress to fight back - BELOIT DAILY NEWS

Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2005 - 01:53:17 am CDT

One Wisconsin teenager who had a prom night he'll never forget is fighting a disorderly conduct ticket issued by police after he wore a black, spaghetti-strap dress and blond wig to the event.
"The only thing that Mr. Lofy did wrong was wearing a purse that didn't match the dress and open-toed shoes before Memorial Day," said Madison lawyer Erik Guenther, who will represent Kerry Lofy. "There's just no rational basis for the citation and the school district in telling him beforehand that he couldn't do it."

The senior at Badger High School in Lake Geneva will plead not guilty and ask the city to dismiss the ticket, which carries a fine of $249, Guenther said.

Guenther said he would also advise Lofy, 18, to file a lawsuit against the school for violating his first amendment rights to free expression by telling him he couldn't wear a dress and disciplining him for doing so.

Lofy was suspended for three days this week and ordered to miss his final track meet after wearing the dress to the May 7 prom and dancing in a sexually provocative manner, including lying on another student on the dance floor, school officials and police say.

Lofy says he is not gay but went to the prom with a gay friend who did not have a date. He had been warned by school authorities not to wear the dress. He was turned away at the door when he showed up in the dress, blue earrings, platform sandals and a necklace, and carrying a purse.

He returned an hour later in a leisure suit and was allowed to enter. During a risque dance routine that caught the attention of the 400 people there, the 6-foot, 185-pound Lofy ripped off his clothes to reveal the dress, according to a police report.

He was escorted from the building by a police officer and served with the ticket when he showed up for school Monday.

Lake Geneva school district administrator Jim Gottinger said Friday he was confident that the school's dress code and rules for prom were appropriate and would be upheld in court.

He said most of the discipline was related to Lofy's behavior at the event, and his insubordination for ignoring warnings about appropriate attire.

Gottinger refused to issue an apology, which Guenther demanded.

"I don't see that we were in the wrong," he said. "We think the attire for the prom is a formal event, and he not only wore a dress but a blond wig as well."

Lofy said he wore the outfit after researching the first amendment and concluding, "I'm going to take a stand. They can't say what I can or cannot wear, especially at a dance."

Lofy said his conference track meet was postponed on Friday and rescheduled for next week and his status for the meet is unclear. "It's the most important one of the year," said Lofy, who does the pole vault.

Lofy, who plans to go to Colorado Mountain College in the fall and major in ski hill management, had indicated he wanted to fight the discipline but said he could not afford an attorney.

Guenther, a criminal defense and constitutional law attorney, said his Madison law firm, Hurley, Burish & Milliken, S.C., volunteered to represent him free of charge.

"This is a $250 ticket but if you don't protect the fringes of free speech the next action is at your front door," he said. "These acts cannot be tolerated."

Teen ticketed for wearing dress to prom - THE DALLAS VOICE

By Ryan J. Foley
Associated Press
LAKE GENEVA, Wisc. — One Wisconsin teenager who had a prom night he’ll never forget is fighting a disorderly conduct ticket issued by police after he wore a black, spaghetti-strap dress and blond wig to the event.
“The only thing that Mr. Lofy did wrong was wearing a purse that didn’t match the dress and open-toed shoes before Memorial Day,’’ said Madison lawyer Erik Guenther, who will represent Kerry Lofy. “There’s just no rational basis for the citation and the school district in telling him beforehand that he couldn’t do it.’’
The senior at Badger High School in Lake Geneva will plead not guilty and ask the city to dismiss the ticket, which carries a fine of $249, Guenther said.
Guenther said he would also advise Lofy, 18, to file a lawsuit against the school for violating his first amendment rights to free expression by telling him he couldn’t wear a dress and disciplining him for doing so.
Lofy was suspended for three days this week and ordered to miss his final track meet after wearing the dress to the May 7 prom and dancing in a sexually provocative manner, including lying on another student on the dance floor, school officials and police say.
Lofy says he is not gay but went to the prom with a gay friend who did not have a date. He had been warned by school authorities not to wear the dress. He was turned away at the door when he showed up in the dress, blue earrings, platform sandals and a necklace, and carrying a purse.
He returned an hour later in a leisure suit and was allowed to enter. During a risque dance routine that caught the attention of the 400 people there, the 6-foot, 185-pound Lofy ripped off his clothes to reveal the dress, according to a police report.
He was escorted from the building by a police officer and served with the ticket when he showed up for school Monday.
Lake Geneva school district administrator Jim Gottinger said Friday he was confident that the school’s dress code and rules for prom were appropriate and would be upheld in court.
He said most of the discipline was related to Lofy’s behavior at the event, and his insubordination for ignoring warnings about appropriate attire.
Gottinger refused to issue an apology, which Guenther demanded.
“I don’t see that we were in the wrong,’’ he said. “We think the attire for the prom is a formal event, and he not only wore a dress but a blond wig as well.’’
Lofy, who plans to go to Colorado Mountain College in the fall and major in ski hill management, had indicated he wanted to fight the discipline but said he could not afford an attorney.
Guenther, a criminal defense and constitutional law attorney, said his Madison law firm, Hurley, Burish & Milliken, S.C., volunteered to represent him free of charge. “This is a $250 ticket but if you don’t protect the fringes of free speech the next action is at your front door,’’ he said.“These acts cannot be tolerated.’’

Boy to fight ticket for wearing dress, wig to prom - Marinette (Wisconsin)/Menominee (Michigan) Eagle Herald

Published Saturday, May 14, 2005 12:54:07 AM Central Time

By RYAN J. FOLEY

Associated Press Writer

One Wisconsin teenager who had a prom night he'll never forget is fighting a disorderly conduct ticket issued by police after he wore a black, spaghetti-strap dress and blond wig to the event.

"The only thing that Mr. Lofy did wrong was wearing a purse that didn't match the dress and open-toed shoes before Memorial Day," said Madison lawyer Erik Guenther, who will represent Kerry Lofy. "There's just no rational basis for the citation and the school district in telling him beforehand that he couldn't do it."

The senior at Badger High School in Lake Geneva will plead not guilty and ask the city to dismiss the ticket, which carries a fine of $249, Guenther said.

Guenther said he would also advise Lofy, 18, to file a lawsuit against the school for violating his first amendment rights to free expression by telling him he couldn't wear a dress and disciplining him for doing so.

Lofy was suspended for three days this week and ordered to miss his final track meet after wearing the dress to the May 7 prom and dancing in a sexually provocative manner, including lying on another student on the dance floor, school officials and police say.

Lofy says he is not gay but went to the prom with a gay friend who did not have a date. He had been warned by school authorities not to wear the dress. He was turned away at the door when he showed up in the dress, blue earrings, platform sandals and a necklace, and carrying a purse.

He returned an hour later in a leisure suit and was allowed to enter. During a risque dance routine that caught the attention of the 400 people there, the 6-foot, 185-pound Lofy ripped off his clothes to reveal the dress, according to a police report.

He was escorted from the building by a police officer and served with the ticket when he showed up for school Monday.

Lake Geneva school district administrator Jim Gottinger said Friday he was confident that the school's dress code and rules for prom were appropriate and would be upheld in court.

He said most of the discipline was related to Lofy's behavior at the event, and his insubordination for ignoring warnings about appropriate attire.

Gottinger refused to issue an apology, which Guenther demanded.

"I don't see that we were in the wrong," he said. "We think the attire for the prom is a formal event, and he not only wore a dress but a blond wig as well."

Lofy said he wore the outfit after researching the first amendment and concluding, "I'm going to take a stand. They can't say what I can or cannot wear, especially at a dance."

Lofy said his conference track meet was postponed on Friday and rescheduled for next week and his status for the meet is unclear. "It's the most important one of the year," said Lofy, who does the pole vault.

Lofy, who plans to go to Colorado Mountain College in the fall and major in ski hill management, had indicated he wanted to fight the discipline but said he could not afford an attorney.

Guenther, a criminal defense and constitutional law attorney, said his Madison law firm, Hurley, Burish & Milliken, S.C., volunteered to represent him free of charge.

"This is a $250 ticket but if you don't protect the fringes of free speech the next action is at your front door," he said. "These acts cannot be tolerated."

Friday, May 13, 2005

Student suspended for attending prom in a dress - THE ADVOCATE

Kerry Lofy had no qualms about wearing a black spaghetti-strap dress to his high school prom--he thought it would be funny. Turns out, his school didn't. The 18-year-old senior at Lake Geneva Badger High School in Wisconsin was ticketed $249 for disorderly conduct, suspended from school for three days, and told he must miss his last track meet. "Things got a little crazy," Lofy said.

School district administrator Jim Gottinger said the discipline was for more than just the dress. According to a police report, a school police liaison officer saw Lofy dancing in a sexually provocative manner, including lying on another student on the dance floor. "Quite frankly, the behavior was a bigger violation than the dress issue," Gottinger said.

Lofy, though, said he wasn't the only one dancing suggestively at prom. "The whole night was that kind of dancing. They can't single me out and say, 'Oh, it was you, it was only you,"' he said. "I think it's over the dress." Police did not cite anyone else at the prom for disorderly conduct, said Donna Wisniewski, assistant to the police chief.

Lofy said his school had no problem letting him go to Saturday's prom with another guy. Lofy is not gay but says his friend is and couldn't find a date. School officials drew the line at his dress. "I thought it would be more appropriate for there to be one person dressed like a girl and a person dressed like a guy than for there to be two guys to go," said Lofy, a member of the school's track, ski, powerlifting, and soccer teams.

Also, Lofy thought people would find it funny to see a 6-foot, 185-pound guy in a black stretchy spaghetti-strap dress. He says he's known for his outrageous fashion--he once went to a homecoming dance dressed like Hugh Hefner with two girls as dates. He went to prom last year in a suit made out of duct tape and took an inflatable doll as his date to another homecoming.

Word got around about his prom dress, and Lofy said the school's associate principal warned him a few times not to wear it. He didn't listen. He showed up in the dress, a blond wig, open-toed platform sandals, blue earrings, and a necklace. Teachers turned him away, but he said he showed up later with a tan-and-black plaid leisure suit over the dress and went inside. He whipped off the suit during a dance-off, and a security guard escorted him out, he said.

Lofy said when he went to school Monday, the school liaison police officer issued the disorderly conduct ticket. "They thought I was mocking the school," he said. Gottinger, though, said the prom is meant to be dignified, and Lofy's dress "doesn't meet our criteria of what would be dignified dress." Lofy said he'd like to fight the discipline but isn't sure how--he can't afford an attorney. He plans to go to Colorado Mountain College in the fall and major in ski hill management. (AP)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Prom A Drag For Lake Geneva Student - THEMILWAUKEECHANNEL.COM

Kerry Lofy, 18, Suspended For 3 Days

POSTED: 11:55 am CDT May 12, 2005

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. -- A boy who wore a dress to the Lake Geneva Badger High School prom said he will fight a disorderly conduct ticket.

"When I bought my ticket, I asked them, 'What's the dress code?' and they said, 'Dress, formal dress, and tuxedo or suit,'" Kerry Lofy said,

Lofy, 18, of Lake Geneva, has been known to show up at events wearing a duct tape suit.

Last year, he was the homecoming King and went to the dance as Hugh Hefner.

On another occasion, he brought a sizeable inflatable doll as his date.

Usually, he is unusual without incident, but when he dressed like a girl from head to toe and showed up at the senior prom Friday night with a guy friend as his date, security threw him out.

"After I had exposed my dress during a dance-off, he took me by the arm and threw me out the door and down the stairs and told me to get out of here, and he has no more respect for me," Lofy said.

The school district is backing the officer who also gave Lofy with a $249 fine for disorderly conduct.

School officials released a police report that said Lofy was engaged in an inappropriate dance with another male student.

Lofy told 12 News that was true, but said he wasn't the only one doing the dance.

He said he just likes to be different, and in this case, he had a friend who needed a favor.

"After he found out I was going to wear a dress, and I could go with him, he loved it. He thought it was great," Lofy said.

"Would you do it again?" 12 News' Mike Anderson asked.

"Ah, short term, right now, I'd say probably not because I'm missing school," Lofy said.

That's something else unusual about Kerry. He rarely misses school. He's an A student and was honored last week by the same board that suspended him.

Lofy said he going to fight the citation. He has a court date in two weeks.

Schoolboy Charged for Wearing Dress to Prom - WWW.FOXNEWS.COM

Thursday, May 12, 2005

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. — A high school senior who thought it would be funny to wear a dress to his prom was ticketed $249 for disorderly conduct, suspended for three days and banned from his last track meet.

School district administrator Jim Gottinger said the discipline was for more than just the dress, noting Kerry Lofy (search), 18, was dancing in a sexually provocative manner at the prom, according to a police report.

Lofy doubts that was the real reason he was disciplined Monday.

"The whole night was that kind of dancing. They can't single me out and say, 'Oh it was you, it was only you,'" he said. "I think it's over the dress."

Lofy said Lake Geneva Badger High (search) had no problem letting him go to Saturday's prom with another male, but that school officials drew the line at his dress.

"I thought it would be more appropriate for there to be one person dressed like a girl and a person dressed like a guy, than for there to be two guys to go," said Lofy, a member of the school's track, ski, powerlifting and soccer teams.

Also, he thought people would find it funny to see a 6-foot, 185-pound male in a black, stretchy, spaghetti-strap dress.

When Lofy showed up in the dress, a blond wig, open-toed platform sandals, blue earrings and a necklace, teachers turned him away. He said he showed up later with a tan-and-black plaid leisure suit (search) over the dress, went inside and whipped off the suit during a dance-off. A security guard escorted him out, he said.

Lofy said when he went to school Monday, the school liaison police officer issued the disorderly conduct ticket.

"They thought I was mocking the school," he said.

Powerlifter Suspended For Dirty Dancing In His Prom Dress - MTV NEWS

5.12.2005 8:44 AM EDT

Athlete hit with ticket and three-day suspension, banned from final track meet.
Kerry Lofy speaks to reporters on Wednesday
Photo: CBS News

If anything, school administrators should have suspended Kerry Lofy for crimes against fashion.

The six-foot tall, 185 pound senior at Lake Geneva Badger High in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, thought it would be funny to show up to his prom on Saturday in a slinky dress, but when he started droppin' it like it's hot, administrators pulled the plug on his cross-dressing goof.

According to The Associated Press, the 18-year-old member of the school's track, skiing, soccer and powerlifting teams was slapped with a $249 ticket for disorderly conduct, suspended for three days and banned from his final track meet over the incident.

The school's district administrator said the harsh penalties weren't just for the dress, but also because Lofy was dancing in a "sexually suggestive" manner, according to the police report on the incident.

Lofy doesn't deny he was a sight. When the strapping athlete showed up in a black, stretchy spaghetti-strap dress, a blond wig, open-toed platform sandals, blue earrings and a necklace, teachers wouldn't let him in the door. So he left, put a plaid leisure suit over the getup and was admitted. Once inside, he took the suit off and began busting moves during a dance-off.

Lofy, a young man who clearly has a sense of humor about the situation, told the AP that he was just trying to fit in. "I thought it would be more appropriate for there to be one person dressed like a girl and a person dressed like a guy than for there to be two guys to go," he said.

School administrators didn't balk at him coming to the prom with another boy, but the combination of the dress and the dirty dancing did him in. Once the provocative dancing began, a security guard grabbed Lofy and escorted him out of the party. When Lofy arrived at school on Monday, a police liaison issued the disorderly conduct ticket.

Though the battle between students and school officials over sexually suggestive dancing has been waged in many high schools (see "Dip It Low? I Don't Think So, Says One High School Principal"), Lofy doesn't believe his moves were the real problem.

"The whole night was that kind of dancing," he explained. "They can't single me out and say, 'Oh it was you, it was only you.' I think it's over the dress."

"They thought I was mocking the school," Lofy said.

— Gil Kaufman

Friday, May 06, 2005

Mike Moore: Golden spotlight shifts to readers - THE RACINE JOURNAL TIMES

y Mike Moore

In the name of Christian values, my alma mater passed on the option of returning to the nickname Warriors. (Sigh).

A Warrior revival would've brought a huge cash flow from disgruntled Marquette University alumni. That's not a valid reason to change, but you'll see why I brought it up in a second.

Instead, the trustees chose to go with a nebulous new name: Gold.

So what if it's universally laughed at? As Homer Simpson would say, maybe they're "stupid like a fox." An image of gold bricks on each contribution card and, subliminally, they've got us.

Hey, where's my checkbook?

Enough about me and my fellow Golds. Goldies? Goldians? This is about you. It's the "monthly" mailbag column, your golden opportunity to fill in the gaps in what I've written about: Feral cats Charlotte Baumeister of the Town of Burlington saw my column on Bling Bling, the gold-colored cat apparently wounded by gunshot, and my take on the feral cat issue, which is this: Don't legalize shooting them. It isn't like other hunting, since nobody can tell a feral cat from a barn cat.

"Please tell the other side of the stray cats story," Baumeister wrote in a letter to me. "A year ago when I looked over the farm fields, I saw two stray cats, very starved. One was pregnant. The pregnant one was an expensive Grecian Blue variety, probably a former house cat.

I told a friend about it. It was decided if I could catch it, she would take it as her house cat. I borrowed a cat carrier (not a trap). ... I put food into the carrier and both cats went into it. When I went to shut the door, the Grecian Blue jumped backwards, biting my left hand five times.

I immediately washed my hands, put antibiotic salve on the left hand and bandaged it."

Baumeister went on to write that a couple of days later, despite wet compresses and a shot from her doctor, her condition got worse. Her husband took her to the emergency room, where she got five rabies shots.

"I stayed in the hospital five days with antibiotic IVs running constantly. Cost of $15,000.00."

Luckily the cat was caught, she wrote, and didn't have rabies.

"I'd vote `yes' for killing stray cats. Yes, I've had the Humane Society catch some but still have four stray cats permanently around here."

The good news? Since she wrote, the strays have left the area.

Tasers and pigs Right about the time Tasers were introduced to Racine's police force, UW-Madison announced a researcher was going to study the zap guns on pigs. I wrote about both.

Erik Guenther, who was president of the Young Professionals of Racine while he lived here, offered his two pennies. On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, he's volunteered to monitor Taser policies in Wisconsin.

Guenther, who works for a Madison law firm, helped convince the department there to change its policy so Tasers are at a higher level of force, something like firing a beanbag round.

The ACLU, he said, doesn't want Tasers off the streets, or even to have them equated to real guns. Its stance is that, until more studies are done to be sure they're safe, officers should use them sparingly. Not studies on police officers who know the charge is coming, but to find out how the Tasers affect people with heart conditions, those using drugs, et cetera.

If a few pigs have to be sacrificed to get there, I'm fine with that. In fact, I'm golden.

"At some point, it may be appropriate for the Taser to be placed on the same level as pepper spray," Guenther said.

That's where it is now under Racine's policy.

And one quick update: Taking back government Last weekend, a whopping one person from Racine County attended the regional meeting of the People's Legislature. It's a new organization directed toward the "politically homeless."

As one of those, I attended the virgin event in January.

Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filled me in on what happened at Saturday's Milwaukee meeting. A group called the Raging Grannies came armed with specific issues, but the majority of the 203 in attendance focused on the campaign reform plans started at the state event.

Seven or eight volunteered to be on an organizing committee to figure out the next step, McCabe said.

"I haven't seen this kind of spontaneous activism," he said. "A lot of people are just reaching the breaking point. That's what the People's Legislature has tapped into."

They were sitting on a gold mine.