COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Louisiana towns have been passing ordinances against saggy pants, declaring it indecent for young men to walk around in public with their drawers hanging out while their britches droop. Ohio has not jumped into the act yet. There's a sense, though, that something may be coming. This summer, the Gahanna Swim Club adopted a rule that banned droops. The club is a private organization near Columbus, but the sentiment favoring a dress code came through loud a clear, which is a bit odd considering that people who use swimming pools are often in a state of near total undress. The Gahanna rule says:
"Pants worn by any person, regardless of age, should be size appropriate and secured at the waist to prevent the pants from falling down below the hips and causing any indecent exposure or his or her person or undergarments."
The Cleveland Public Schools start classes Thursday with a new dress code that requires pants to be belted at the waist. It specifically forbids droops.
Mansfield, La., has a new ordinance that takes effect next month making it illegal to be found in a "state of nudity, or partial nudity, or in any indecent exposure of his or her undergarments, or be guilty of any indecent or lewd behavior." The maximum penalty is 15 days in the slammer.
In Lake Charles, La., city officials adopted this ordinance earlier in August. It sets a fine of $25 to $250.
The baggy pants fad has been around for years. It may have played a role in the April 2001 racial rioting in Cincinnati after a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man named Timothy Thomas in a dark alley. The officer, who was acquitted of charges that grew out of the incident, apparently thought Thomas had reached for his waistband. The officer opened fire. But Thomas didn't have a gun, or any kind of weapon. He simply may have been trying to pull up his saggy pants. He had been running from the police, and loose-fitting britches could have cost him his life.