A Florida lawmaker made headlines across the country Monday when he handed out 200 belts to students to help them abide by a new law by pulling their pants up.
Democratic State Senator Gary Siplin of Orlando pushed for a so-called Pull Your Pants Up law for six years, before finally getting it passed last Spring.
The state legislature voted overwhelmingly to enact the ban at the start of the 2011-12 school year, making Florida and Arkansas the only two states with such a widespread prohibition against saggy pants for students. Source
Siplin, who is black, met with strong resistance from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who argued that the new law unfairly targeted blacks.
Unlike other states which have outright banned wearing saggy pants in the populace, Siplin's law only affects students and it carries no jail time or harsh fees for repeat offenders. The law instead subjects repeat violators to suspensions from school and extracurricular activities.
"We want our kids to believe they're going to college, and part of that is an attitude, and part of that is being dressed professionally," said Siplin, who spent Monday morning handing out over 200 belts to students at three largely minority high schools in the Orlando area.
"I'm not going to hire anyone, white or black, with saggy pants," he said. "I want to make sure our kids qualify."
Antoinette Sims, a 17-year-old senior at majority black Jones High School in Orlando, said she and many of her girlfriends found saggy pants unattractive.
"You can see your boxers sticking out. It's not cute," Sims said.
It's a shame that a Florida lawmaker had to step up to do the job of parent(s) who can't or won't monitor their own children's attire to make sure it's appropriate for school.
Then you have high profile blacks like Russell Simmons defending this prison style because, he says, saggy pants laws violates the thug's freedom of expression.
What about asking those thugs to express themselves in a more respectful manner in the black community? Or is that too much to ask of black people to be respectful nowadays?