Senate bill to end sagging pants trend

Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, and his supporters are looking to eliminate the popular trend of saggy pants from public schools. Siplin introduced a bill that, if passed into law, will stop elementary and high school students from dressing in this manner.

The Florida Senate Web site states that Senate Bill 302: Relating to Public School Dress Requirements proposes that public school dress requirements be changed to prohibit students from wearing and exposing below-waist underwear in a specified manner while on the grounds of a public school.

The Florida Senate Web site showed that Siplin first proposed the bill in September 2007. A review took place March 24, and the Senate approved the bill’s proposal, making it effective July 1.

Focusing in on the style of sagging pants, students at Florida A&M University expressed how they would feel if a dress code was enforced.

“That wouldn’t be good,” said Courtney Peterkin, 19, a freshman pre-med student from Orlando. “FAMU is what it is. If we had a dress code, FAMU wouldn’t be the way it is.”

Dean of Students Henry L. Kirby said there is not a dress code policy but faculty does encourage students to dress appropriately.

“As dean of students, I would approach that student about the way they dress if needed to, but there is no official dress code policy,” Kirby said. “You’ll find that mostly at private institutions.”

Kirby did say that certain schools and colleges at FAMU have the right to make a dress code policy for their particular field.

Schools such as the School of Business and Industry have their own particular dress codes. These dress codes are aimed at teaching students how to dress professionally.

O’Hara G. Hannah, SBI recruitment and admissions coordinator, said all students in SBI are encouraged to dress appropriately on a day-to-day basis because of the many executives that may visit the college.

Hannah also mentioned that for SBI forum days, all students have dress codes they must adhere to or they could risk lowering their grade.

Kirby said he understands students’ expression through dress but believes many copy what they see on television.

“I think it’s a cultural thing,” Kirby said. “I think when the rap stars start pulling up their pants, we’ll see a difference.”

Although some students might not agree with the dress policy, some approve of the bill. “I don’t think that it’s that bad,” said David Whitehead, 18, a freshman nursing student from Sarasota. “Not every one wants to see your underpants.”

Peterkin agreed with Whitehead but still disputes the policy.

“That wouldn’t be bad because people are around here looking crazy,” Peterkin said. “But if you tell us how to dress, what are you going to tell us to do next?”

In similar cases, Florida would not be the first or the second to put a stop to drooping pants.

Delcambre, La. Mayor Carol Broussard along with the City Council made it law June 2007. Delcambre prohibits the style by slapping on a $500 fine or six months of incarceration.

Atlanta is planning to follow suit. City Councilman C.T. Martian proposed to ban the style in August 2007. The law has yet to be passed.