Blog: Fla. lawmaker tries again to bar saggy pants
Saggy, baggy pants apparently bother Florida state Sen. Gary Siplin. He has again introduced a bill to ban such fashion statements in public schools.
Senate Bill 228 would require school districts in the state to prohibit students from wearing their pants too low. Under the measure, school districts would include in codes of student conduct an “explanation of the responsibilities of each student with regard to appropriate dress, respect for self and others, and the role that appropriate dress and respect for self and others has on an orderly learning environment.”
Each school district’s conduct code would have to include a dress code that prohibits students “from wearing clothing that exposes underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner or that disrupts the orderly learning process.”
This part of the measure appears tailored to try to meet the standards for student-speech law established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986) and Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969). Under Fraser, school officials can prohibit student speech that is vulgar or lewd. Under Tinker, school officials can prohibit student speech that substantially disrupts school activities.
The Florida bill also spells out a graduated system of punishment for student dress-code offenders. Students would receive a verbal warning on the first offense, become ineligible for extra-curricular activities on the second and an in-school suspension on the third.
Siplin has introduced the measure in each of the last four legislative sessions, his legislative assistant Tanika Bango told the First Amendment Center Online. “The impetus for the bill is the baggy or sagging pants trend that we have seen across the country.”
Bango said the measure has passed the Florida Senate before but has never cleared the House.