WRAL reports that “Dunn Mayor Pro Tem Carnell Robinson says he is fairly confident that the City Council on Tuesday will approve his proposed ban on saggy pants, a fashion statement typified by men whose underwear is visible above the waist of their pants. Under the proposal, the first two violations would result in a warning. The third time, violators could face a fine of up to $200.”
Similar ordinances have been enforced in counties in Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida (in 2008 the ordinance in Florida was deemed unconstitutional). Indiana has a proposed saggy pants ban awaiting approval.
In Dunn it is argued that the law will help adjust the culture of the county, offering youth the key to increased self-esteem through proper dress which will help to decrease crime rates and drug sales. Supporters in other states are claiming that similar ordinances can improve youth graduation and employment rates.
This is a waste of law enforcement time and taxpayer money. It is the role of parents to raise their children; it is not the role of government to trample on individual freedom in order to teach values to youth. If these types of laws are enforced unchecked where will it end? More and more restraints will be put on personal freedoms in the name of moral causes. (Louisiana is determining the fate of a proposed ban on pajama pants in public)
It can however be government’s role to inform the public, offering materials to parents on why values such as respect are necessary and how certain styles of dress can be interpreted. As Dunn Mayor Pro Tem Robinson has said himself “The dialogue has made a difference. The majority of our kids are now dressing better, parents are talking about it,” he said. “We’re talking about the 10 percent. I think we’ve already made a difference in our community.” This dialogue that has already shown results can be achieved without infringing on personal freedom (or using the time and funds of law enforcement). One way could be to promote the non-profit Dress for Success, a nationwide program that informs people how their dress is seen by others and shows them how to dress to show respect and attain success.