They say you can’t legislate morality, but you can surely legislate against stupidity. Florida governor Rick Scott is poised to sign a bill which would ban sagging pants in the state’s public schools. The measure, which precludes students from exposing any “body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner” has already been passed by both houses of the state legislature. For some, it is a welcome attempt to bring back sense and sensibility to the public school system. To others, it reeks of racially-tinged politics, ultimately to profile and harass Black men.
I would fall in the former group and nowhere near the latter. What concerns me is that I may be in the minority, no pun intended. Meaning, our community eschews common sense far too often, avoiding what is easily the right thing to do. Opponents of this legislation I would argue fall into this second group.
The infractions and punishments are clear:
First infraction – Verbal warning and call to parent from principal’s office.
Second infraction - Results in suspension from extracurricular activities for a period of up to five days. The parent must also meet with the principal.
Third infraction - 3-day suspension.
On the other hand, there’s always the alternative of having the child his/her damn pants up.
And if/when you do, this discussion (and law) are moot. It takes serious and considerable indifference to get suspended from school under this law. I would argue, it’s an indifference related to how we arrived at this point in the first place.
Suspending young Black males for wearing their pants below their butts with their underwear in plain view is not racist, it’s good sense. We have had uniforms and dress codes in private schools and many public schools for generations. We have dress codes in our places of employment, our restaurants and evening establishments. Let’s embrace basic standards, common sense and stop making excuses for unacceptable behavior. We could do far worse than expecting of our young people exactly what the world will expect of them when they become adults.
No shirt, no shoes…no service. Pull up your pants or get suspended (on the third infraction no less).
Choose the path of least resistance and have your child pull his/her damn pants up. When you do, this discussion (and law) are moot.