Judge Orders High Schoolers To 48 Hours In Jail Over Saggy Pants

| by Karin Sun
Teenagers wearing Saggy Pants.Teenagers wearing Saggy Pants.

Two high school seniors in Bolivar, Tennessee, were ordered by a court to spend 48 hours in jail due to a school dress code violation.

The Bolivar Central High School students were among four teens charged with indecent exposure in early November for repeatedly wearing saggy pants to school, WREG reported. The students served their sentence in the Hardeman County Jail over the weekend of Dec. 5-6.

Willie Hoyle, a resource officer at the high school, said he had warned the students several times that the pants they were wearing were inappropriate for school, according to court documents.

Hoyle expressed concern that the teens were setting a bad example for younger students on campus.

"Because the environment is already bad," he told WREG. "And it ain't gonna get any better if the older kids don't try to show the younger kids anything."

According to the dress code outlined in the high school's student handbook, "pants must be worn and fitted to the waistline" and "low slung, baggy seat, baggy legged or bell-bottom pants are not permitted."

District policy also states that "students shall dress and groom in a clean, neat and modest manner so as not to distract or interfere with the operation of the school."

Neither the Hardeman County School Board nor the Bolivar Sheriff's Office offered an explanation as to how a dress code violation at school eventually resulted in jail time for the students involved.

Local people who spoke to WREG said they believed the punishment was excessive.

"You do got to be presentable at school," one man said. "But, doing 48 hours! Ain't nobody doing that."

"Maybe we have them do some community service, pick up some trash, help at the dog kennels, things like that," Sharon Till, another local resident, told WREG. "I think putting them in jail is just a little bit much."

This is not the first time a dress code punishment has caused controversy.

In September 2014, a 15-year-old student at Oakleaf High School in Orange Park, Florida, was made to wear a "shame suit" after being told her skirt was too short, ABC News reported at the time. The suit consisted of an oversized neon yellow T-shirt with "Dress Code Violation" written on the front in block letters and red sweatpants with the same message written on them. 

Sources: WREG-TV, Bolivar Central High School Student Handbook, ABC News

Photo credit: Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons, Tony Alter/Flickr