FORT MYERS, Fla. - Should you be legally bound to pull your pants up higher? A group of young people in Fort Myers is helping the city understand if a ban on saggy pants is needed here.
Councilman Johnny Streets brought up the idea a few months ago. But, he paused there because he wants to make sure kids, the ones he feels are most affected by this, have the most say.
Seat belts are required by law. Pants belts are not. "We really don't need to see that much underwear, really, it's a little bit much," Cindy Macri said.
Some say the city needs to crack down. "Half-dressed," J.R. Bradford said. "I say, pull up your pants and get on with your life."
Others think that when it comes to legislating fashion, governments should just butt out. "I don't think so," Roc Macri said. "I think there are other pressing issues moreso than just baggy pants."
Right now, the Fort Myers Teen Advisory Council is carving the path of a potential saggy pants ordinance. They're surveying people their age on the topic.
Public Works Director Saeed Kazemi outlined what they teens are asking. "Do you like it? You don't like it? If you don't like it, why? What kind of opinion you have? If you want to wear that kind of pants or don't want to wear that kind of pants? Those are the teen questions they ask each other," Kazemi said.
At the end of October, they'll take that feedback straight to City Council. "That's the whole purpose of the Teen Advisory Council," Kazemi said. "Get involved early. This is your government. Get involved. This is your city."
Currently, Opa-Locka and Ocala are the only Florida cities banning saggy bottoms. They've not come without controversy. Last month, the state NAACP called these laws "clearly discriminatory," saying the law in Ocala "creates a gateway to the criminal justice system for the youth, long-term implications of a second-degree misdemeanor, a $500 fine and/or jail." The ocala council has not repealed it, though they could decriminalize it.
As for Fort Myers, officials want to take time and hear from everyone.
Councilman Streets, who spearheaded the fort myers discussion, isn't sharing his thoughts just yet. He's being careful not to influence the youth opinion. Streets says it's important to make them part of the government.
If you want to learn more about what the Teen Advisory Council doing, the group meets Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at the Recreation Office on 1820 Hendry Street. It's open to the public and they'll discuss the data they're collecting.