New Ark. measure would hitch up saggy pants in schools

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exposed underwear and portions of buttocks and breasts may be a thing of the past in Arkansas schools, as the state Legislature has passed a bill that prohibits the wearing of clothing in such revealing ways in public schools and at school-sponsored events.

Introduced earlier this year by Rep. Tracy Steele, the measure — Arkansas House Bill 1936 — provides:

“A school district shall include in its student discipline policies a provision prohibiting students from wearing, while on the grounds of a public school during the regular school day and at school-sponsored activities and events, clothing that exposes underwear, buttocks, or the breast of a female.”

The Arkansas House passed the measure on March 17 and the Senate followed suit on March 28. The bill now heads to the governor for signing.

In its legislative findings, the measure states the reasons for the bill: “The General Assembly finds that the wearing of clothing that exposes underwear, buttocks, or the breast of a female by students in the public schools often preoccupies and distracts students from their major purpose for being in school, that of becoming educated in math, science, English, history and other subjects.”

The legislative findings also claim that such clothing has led to violence in schools, and that restricting such fashions will help prepare students for how to dress in the business world.

Apparently to ameliorate concerns that the measure might be applied in a discriminatory manner, the bill cautions that the measure “shall not be enforced in a manner that discriminates against a student o the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex, disability or national origin.”

Attempts to reach Steele or the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas for comment were unsuccessful.