Mississippi City Launches ‘Pull Up Your Pants’ Sign Campaign

AP Photo/Mel Evans
AP Photo/Mel Evans
Laurel, MS

A town in Mississippi is launching a new campaign to urge citizens to “pull up your pants” in an effort to put a dent in the gangbanger attitude that’s popular among too many young males.

The mayor and the police department of Laurel, Mississippi, are cooperating in the campaign by posting a series of signs asking citizens to be more mindful of how they appear in public.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to our young people to pull up your pants,” Police Chief Tyrone Stewart told WDAM Eyewitness News. “No one wants to see your underwear.”

The chief was on hand for the posting of the first sign outside the municipal court building.

“When you come here to our facilities, we want you to act right,” Chief Stewart said:

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.

The city plans to post more such signs at other city facilities.

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee acknowledged that there could be an issue over the constitutionality of their campaign for a “Saggy Pants Ordinance.”

“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,” Chief Stewart said. “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.'”

Mayor Magee agreed, noting that the campaign isn’t trying to say that people will be barred from entering buildings without pulling up their pants. But he’s been dealing with the issue for several years, since he entered the city council, and he feels it is a legitimate issue.

The city has no ordinance against saggy pants that the signs would be enforcing, but council members are looking into drafting such a rule.

Several other Mississippi cities do have such ordinances, though, including Columbia, Columbus, Guntown, Indianola, Meridian, Ripley, Saltillo, and Wiggins. Nearby towns in Louisiana also have such ordinances. Cities such as Bogalusa, Grambling, and Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes in Louisiana have already passed bans on saggy pants.

Earlier this year, the city council of Dadeville, Alabama, also passed such an ordinance, joining towns in other states such as Opa-Locka, Florida, and Wildwood, New Jersey.

But some are calling such a ban “racist.”

When Henderson State University in Arkansas decided to ban saggy pants, officials were attacked and called “racists” by students critical of the move.

Further, the American Civil Liberties Union has protested bans on saggy pants, calling the ordinances an “affront to the Constitution.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.