CALUMET CITY | The City Council may consider in coming weeks ordinances that would penalize parents who don’t discourage their children from wearing sagging pants in public.
Fourth Ward Alderman Ramonde Williams said Thursday he wants an ordinance on the issue of sagging pants that was previously drafted for City Council consideration to come up for an actual vote.
“I want an anti-sagging ordinance here in Calumet City,” Williams said, adding later that the matter is being reviewed by city attorneys to ensure that it could withstand any legal challenge.
“The attorneys are reviewing it, and we will act on it once they have completed their work,” said Williams, explaining that he’d like to see a vote on the issue as soon as the Oct. 10 City Council meeting.
Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush was unsure if a legal review could be completed that quickly. But she said she expects some sort of action on the issue in the near future.
“If they can do the research that quickly, it could happen” next month, she said.
Qualkinbush said the ordinance under review is similar to the measures enacted in Lynwood and, recently, in Dolton, and attorneys for Calumet City are paying special attention to them.
Lynwood Village President Eugene Williams said he thinks the ordinance his village approved — the first in Illinois to take on the issue — has succeeded in that it discourages many teenagers from wearing their pants in such a fashion.
“This keeps the issue on the minds of young people and adults,” he said. “In some cases, it eliminates the pressure on young people to dress like that because they can say, ‘There’s a law against it.'”
Ramonde Williams, whose day job is in the court services division of the Cook County sheriff’s police, said he would envision an ordinance imposing fines around $25 for parents whose children are found by police to be wearing their pants with a sagging waist and their underwear exposed.
Fines could be increased up to $200 for repeat offenses, he said, adding he’d like to see something in the way of a “parenting class” for those parents whose children repeatedly violate the ordinance.
Fines would apply equally to parents of males and females, although Ramonde Williams said most of the problem is among young males.
Those fines are identical to what are charged in Lynwood, with Eugene Williams saying fines aren’t collected that often in Lynwood because many young people merely pull up their pants when confronted by police.
Ramonde Williams said it ultimately becomes an issue for parents to set an example for their children to get them to quit wearing their pants in a manner he called, “disgusting and disrespectful.”
Even if the City Council acts soon on the issue, it won’t be the first Calumet City entity to take a stance on the issue of sagging pants.
The Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215 School Board last year imposed a ban on students wearing their pants in such a manner, with penalties ranging as high as an out-of-school suspension for repeat offenders. T.F. North Principal Dwayne Evans said no student has yet been suspended because of their pants and that school officials usually provide “zip-ties” to students in need of a belt to hold up their pants.
“Most kids see an adult and they pull up their pants on their own,” said Evans, who added that he thinks the “fad” is declining. “It’s not as prevalent as it used to be.”
He also said that while there might be two or three incidents of sagging pants per day at T.F. North, “It’s always the same kids, we know who they are. Most students don’t do this.”