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Authorities criminalize kids for saggy pants, but not violent beatings

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Despite the skinny jean trend that successfully convinced teens that constricting blood flow to their lower bodies is a good idea, some of Tennessee’s youth are still donning saggy pants, and adults aren’t fans. The issue (other than the fact that saggy pants look terrible) is that authorities in the state are going as far as jailing boys for refusing to lift up their pants.

Four Tennessee high school students have been charged with indecent exposure, and two of them were jailed for 48 hours because the authorities felt that playing fashion police was more important than keeping the community safe from real crime. The school resource officer at Bolivar High School claims he asked the boys to pull up their pants repeatedly, and since they refused to do so, they were slapped with charges that could result in them being placed on the state’s sex offender registry.

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According to the state’s sex crime laws, a person who has three or more convictions of indecent exposure is required to register as a sex offender. Although I absolutely hate the baggy travesty that got these teens in trouble in the first place, does it make sense to criminalize something that doesn’t really harm anyone?

While it’s true that it’s irritating to see some teen’s colorful boxer briefs while his pants are nearly down to his ankles, the hyper-sexualized mass media we both willingly and unwillingly consume on a daily basis makes the questionable attire seem tame.

Juxtapose the saggy pants story to a viral video from Alaska that features a group of teenage girls beating their friend viciously at a sleepover. The ten minute video of Naomi Johnson getting attacked was so brutal that her parents pulled her out of school and filed a civil suit against the mother who hosted the slumber party.

As of now, the four girls who viciously kicked, punched, and dragged Johnson are not facing any criminal charges. The school the attackers go to has also neglected to take any action. Authorities in Anchorage released a brief statement about their investigation into the incident, which occurred months ago:

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“The incident was first reported to APD on July 26, 2015, and an investigation was initiated,” police said in their statement “The video of the incident was received by police approximately two weeks after the initial report. This incident has been investigated and final reports are being sent to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).”

So far it seems unlikely that the girls will face any assault charges, regardless of the fact that they proudly posted smartphone video evidence of their assault online. One of the attackers allegedly threatened to stab Johnson the next time she saw her, which proves how easily teens are emboldened by escaping consequences for violent actions.

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Both stories come from two different parts of the country, but it does go to show you where our priorities are. Certain behavior tends to get a pass when they’re perpetrated by innocent looking girls. At the same time, we allow preconceived notions and stereotypes to cloud our judgement when we see minority students dressed a certain way. It’s interesting that saggy pants make people uncomfortable because they symbolize violent gang behavior, and the teens who actually carried out an act of violence were dressed in bedazzled jeans. Looks can be deceiving.

It’s time adults stop policing the fashion choices of kids, and work harder to educate them about the consequences of bullying and beating their peers. Unfortunately for school administrators and authorities, the latter takes hard work. Dress codes are just easier to enforce.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

WATCH LIVE: Trump to address the nation after mass shootings leave 29 dead

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US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

Trump will again find himself in the role of consoler-in-chief after a tragedy -- which he has struggled with in the past -- when he speaks at 10:00 am (1400 GMT).

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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

Trump to address nation after US shootings leave 29 dead

Published

on

US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

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2020 Election

Julián Castro destroys NRA’s ‘good guy with a gun’ claim: Armed Texans ‘didn’t keep those people safe’ in El Paso

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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro reacted to the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio by knocking down the conservative premise that a "good guy with a gun" can stop the violence.

In an interview on CNN, Castro said that President Donald Trump is "making it worse" by "fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate."

The candidate also blasted the NRA's talking points.

"The NRA, for years, has said that the answer to these mass shootings is more guns, that a good guy with a gun is the answer," Castro added. "We’re in Texas. That shooter went into a situation where people routinely carry guns."

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