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Sam, you made the pants too low

Baggy Pants

A Florida legislator's attempt to ban the wearing of baggy pants in school will be the stuff of late-night comedy monologues, especially language in his bill outlawing the exposure of "body parts." (Lucky he isn't in France.)

But the baggy-pants controversy also is the stuff of a law school exam.

In 1969, the Supreme Court upheld the right of schoolchildren to wear black armbands in school as a protest against the war in Vietnam. Does that decision provide an opening for the baggy-pants brigade? First you'd have to come up with a message that is supposedly being communicated by this low-riding. Urban alienation? A critique of mainstream culture?

Another question on the test would be whether the low-riders could make an equal-protection case. Indeed, the ACLU is already on the case, noting that a disproportionate number of kids wearing their pants low are minorities. (The sponsor of the bill, who is black, insists that "white kids do it" too.)

Finally, there is the question of religious freedom. Don't the pants reflect a value system? Is the school discriminating against low-riders but embracing the gospel of conformity symbolized by a dress shirt and khaki pants raised up high enough to conceal underwear.

Write a brief supporting the kids who wear their pants low. You have 90 minutes.


Florida close to passing 'baggy pants' bill

-- Michael McGough

Photo: Students wearing baggy clothing at Granada Hills High School. Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times / September 11, 2002


Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Lou Ferre

No support here. Just have uniforms. Low-income can have subsidies and/or older uniforms in good conditions can be handed down.

It's a money saver for parents too, because it's cheaper than brand-name clothes that kids love to use as status symbols.


"A critique of mainstream culture?" Is that a sentence?

Fed Up

Baggy pants equal prison look

Ironman Carmichael

Actually, the sagging pants (fashion statement: spank me) trend seems to be on the way out anyway; you see less and less of it these days.

Like all fads, the wisest thing is to let it run its course, then it's gone. Making a fuss about it only keeps it around longer.

Greg Maragos

It is a safe bet that Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor will all find a constitutionally-guaranteed right to baggy pants in public schools.

Time to put Kennedy on speed-dial.


Nothing like the party that wants to get the government off people's backs...Hey GOP how about we all wear the BROWN SHIRTS?

David Baeza

I feel this is a direct message to try to control behavior. There is no rule against children who wear "high-water" hand me down pants. Or a rule against tight pants that allow you to see a boy's genitals. This is clearly an attack on the free choice of minority children and those who attempt to copy "the way they roll". They are expressing their individuality, just like long haired kids in the 60's. It's unfortunate they are copying a prison look, but what does that say about our culture when vilan's are imitated.


Immediately the victim class wants to put this in as a race issue. It is ugly, It comes from prisons. It is rude. It is to an extent indecent.

Argue for food, Argue for jobs, Argue for a good education, Argue for equality...but pull your pants up. Have some self respect. Think and act like a winner, demand respect by you manner, your presentation and how you interact with the world.



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