Cross Creek students give saggy pants the boot

Hundreds of Cross Creek High School students gathered for a pep rally Thursday, but they weren't there to chant against an opposing football team.

 

Their nemesis? "Saggy" pants.

The slogan "Pull your pants up!" was posted in large letters on the school's gymnasium wall, and students shouted it several times shortly after hearing their band perform. The gathering even included a group of students modeling appropriate school and work attire.

"People are always going to criticize you, but they'll do it more if you have saggy pants," student Ashley Lewis told the crowd over a microphone.

The event was part of a weeklong "Pull Up Your Pants" campaign in conjunction with the school's Jobs for Georgia Graduates program, which runs throughout the year and was in the works before Richmond County school board members recently started addressing the saggy pants issue at extracurricular school events. School officials said the board's concerns help reinforce their message. The board is considering a policy to prevent those wearing saggy pants from entering after-school events such as football games.

Cross Creek officials started their campaign by passing out candy and fliers to students caught wearing sagging pants, telling them to pull them up.

Just two days into the week, Dr. Cynthia Lovett, a Georgia Graduate Career coordinator and adviser at Cross Creek, said she had seen positive results.

"It was really great to see that, that there were fewer students we had to say 'pull your pants up' to."

The week culminated with Thursday's pep rally, which included some elected officials and a Richmond County Sheriff's Office representative.

Chief Deputy Sid Hatfield told students that saggy pants originated with inmates who weren't allowed to have belts for fear they might use them to hang themselves, and they shouldn't model themselves after felons.

State Sen. Ed Tarver said the saggy pants look has become a negative stereotype. State Rep. Hardie Davis agreed, telling students, "If you want to be the next Barack Obama, you can't do it by sagging your pants."

Cross Creek senior Justina Tillman said she hopes to see less sagging pants in the future.

"We're trying to set a better example for the middle and elementary schools," she said.

That message stuck with Cross Creek senior Deandre Duhart, who quickly admonished a student he saw wearing saggy pants after the assembly. "You're sagging," he said to the student. "Come on."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

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