School ban on 'saggy pants' passes first vote

Get ready to pull up those pants.

Richmond County school board members gave initial approval Tuesday night to a policy banning "saggy pants" from after-school events such as football games.

The measure, approved unanimously in a board committee meeting, must now receive the full board's approval at its Nov. 17 meeting.

The policy states that all pants, including jeans, must be fitted at the waist and not be baggy or oversized or exposing underwear. The rule would be enforced by school officials, administrators, teachers and other school employees on duty.

"Provocative clothing and baggy pants that do not fit properly are prohibited," the policy states.

Public notices would be posted, and anyone not complying wouldn't be allowed in.

Before voting, some board members had questions -- one centering on the policy's use the words "baggy pants."

"The baggy pants doesn't bother me so much as showing their underwear," board member Barbara Pulliam said. "I got a problem with people showing their underwear. That's the part I was most concerned about."

Board vice president Alex Howard agreed. He also asked that the policy for now focus only on students entering school-sponsored events, saying that addressing all spectators would be too much to start off with.

Other board members, though, said it would be difficult to determine who was a student and who might be from another school district, and the idea didn't move forward. The policy also was approved with the reference to baggy pants.

Board member Helen Minchew said she was concerned about how the policy would be enforced and that it should bar those who dress provocatively.

"That's just as bad. You're not showing underwear. You're showing skin," she said.

Board attorney Pete Fletcher quickly noted the proposed policy has a stipulation against provocative clothing.

The policy came about after Mr. Howard said he had noticed students wearing pants low enough to show their underwear at some football games.

In other action, the board heard an update from student services director Carol Rountree on single-gender classes.

Dr. Rountree said officials had examined single-gender class test data from Murphey, Hephzibah and Langford middle schools comparing the past two years.

She said that though CRCT math and English scores had increased in single-gender classes at those schools, report card grades in the same subjects decreased. She told the board at least three years of data would be needed to determine a trend and that there should be more research.

The board also heard from school system athletic director George Bailey about an idea to survey middle schools about their interest in starting a soccer program and what the cost would be. He said a survey of middle school principals is in the works.

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

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