Officials in Laurel, Mississippi, have launched a campaign to tell residents to pull up their pants and are considering bringing in legislation to make baggy pants illegal.
Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee and Police Chief Tyrone Stewart revealed that 50 signs had been purchased to be displayed around the town, WDAM reported.
The campaign was inspired by people dressing inappropriately at the city’s courthouse.
“When you come here to our facilities, we want you to act right,” Stewart told WDAM. “On a weekly basis, you see these young people coming to court, and the way they're dressed with their pants hanging below their buttocks, and you have to have one of the personnel here to tell them to 'pull up your pants before you come in the courtroom.' That's disturbing because that's something these young people should have learned at home.”
Stewart denied the initiative unduly interfered with people’s lives.
“We're not here to regulate exactly what you've got on, but they're walking a fine line with the law of how they are dressing,” added Stewart. “And a lot of times, I really don't think they have somebody in their lives that is just being honest and telling them the truth, 'Hey, when you go, people are going to look at you different whether you're doing business or whether you're trying to get a job, they look at how you are dressed.’”
Magee acknowledged that imposing a ban would be difficult, not least because the city’s attorney is unsure if it would stand.
“She has some concerns about the constitutionality of it if somebody chose to challenge it, but we're going to get there,” added Magee. “We'll see what happens there. There are other cities that have done it in Mississippi and in other states, so we'll be looking closely at that to see what we can come up with.”
In 2012, Hinds County in Mississippi sought to bring in a similar regulation, but it was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU argued at the time that such bans disproportionately target black men and are unconstitutional, MS News Now reported.
Hinds County ultimately decided not to proceed with the measure.