Florida schools begin to enforce new statewide ban on saggy pants and other revealing attire

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Saggy pants
Image: Tom Evil.

With the start of a new academic year, schools throughout the US state of Florida are beginning to enforce a new law that bans students from wearing revealing attire.

The state legislature overwhelmingly voted earlier this year to prohibit male students from wearing their pants so low such that their underwear is exposed. Girls are also not allowed to wear low-cut and midriff-exposing shirts. Signed by Governor Rick Scott in June, the law comes into effect during the 2011-2012 school year. Florida joined Arkansas as the only states with such widespread bans against saggy pants.

The law only applies on school campuses. Principals are required to issue a verbal warning to first-time offenders and call their parents. Students who repeatedly violate the law may be punished with up to three days of in-school suspension and up to one month of suspension from extracurricular activities.

Gary Siplin, a Democratic State Senator from Orlando, had pushed for the ban for six years. An African American, he disagreed with accusations by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the law infringes upon individual freedom and targets minority students. Citing a need to encourage professionalism and preparedness for college, he said "I'm not going to hire anyone, white or black, with saggy pants. I want to make sure our kids qualify."

On Monday Siplin handed out a dozen belts donated by a local church to students wearing saggy pants at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando. Another 100 were donated to two other predominantly minority schools as students began their first week of classes last week.