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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is this the year for anti-saggy pants law?



Since 2008, Sen. Gary Siplin, an Orlando Democrat, has been pushing a law to keep children from showing their underwear and butt cracks in school. The Florida Senate approved the measure two years ago, and again last month.

Now the bill appears headed to the House floor, after advancing in its third committee in that chamber Tuesday morning.

"We want to make sure our students are prepared for the work force and there are no distractions in the classroom," said Rep. Hazelle Rogers, a Lauderdale Lakes Democrat and the bill's House sponsor.

The measure faced vehement opposition from the NAACP, which said addressing the student dress code could increase dropout high school rates and delay graduation for African-American boys.

"This is another bill that would harm our young black males," said Barbara DeVane of the Tallahassee NAACP, who called the proposal an example of "the school-to-prison pipeline."

Siplin and Rogers, the bill's sponsors, are both African-American.

The bill moved forward with three committee votes against, from Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-South Miami-Dade; Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami; and Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 9:38am]


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