To the Journal editor:
Over the past several years, there has been much controversey over the wearing of yoga pants and leggings in schools. Many schools across the country have banned them.
The reactions to these bans have been mixed, with both protest and praise from parents and students alike. I don’t know what the situation is in Marquette Area Schools, but I noticed the Marquette Senior High School dress code fails to mention these type of pants.
What seems apparent to me, though, is that legging style pants have become more popular among the local women and girls. This has not been without controversey itself, with much debate concerning proper dress in public.
After doing some research on this subject, I have found a way to settle this issue, at least at the school level. Anything that reveals as much as leggings and yoga pants are not legal to wear in public. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, yoga pants are illegal. Let me explain why.
According to Michigan’s penal code, “A person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his or her person” (Act 328 of 1931, Chapter 48). The term “person” is defined by section 750, 335a (2) (a) of the code, which specifies the genitals, pubic area, buttocks and female breasts.
“Exposure” means to make “visible,” which itself means to be “perceptible” and “conspicuous.” So openly flashing bare skin is not necessary for exposure to occur – allowing one’s person to be conspicuous would suffice. What damns yoga pants and leggings is that they fail to make your person inconspicuous.
These legging style pants are made out of thin, elastic type material that fits the body like a second skin. The buttocks and pubic area conspicuously show through them and depending on how they’re worn, sometimes even the genitals are visible. This meets the definition of exposure. We can call this exposure indecent, because it is occuring in public places where the public may not expect nor want to see it.
This solves our yoga-pants-in-schools problem. Students wearing leggings and yoga pants must be sent home, because schools are public places and indecent exposure is illegal.
The opinions of the students, parents and even the school board doesn’t matter. Whatever the school dress code says is irrelevant, because Michigan’s penal code supersedes any rule a school may promulgate.