MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Fans can no longer wear whatever they want to Montgomery public school football games.
Students and spectators — from the home school and the visiting school — are now required to abide by the dress code for Montgomery's public school students.
That means no oversized clothing, flip flops, short skirts or low-cut blouses. It also prohibits insignia and clothing that promotes illegal activities and violence.
Mona Davis, spokeswoman for the Montgomery public schools, said on Sept. 5 that the policy had already been in effect for athletic events on the school campuses.
But Montgomery police asked to have the school dress code enforced for everyone attending football games in the city's main venue, Cramton Bowl, because some people were showing up in shirts promoting liquor and marijuana and also because baggy pants can pose a security problem.
"You don't know if someone has something in their pants," she said.
Montgomery's three big public high schools — Lee, Lanier and Jeff Davis — play their football games at Cramton Bowl in downtown Montgomery. Some Montgomery schools play basketball games at the city's community centers, which are also now covered by the dress code.
Officials with the Alabama Association of School Boards said they did not have any information on whether other school systems in the state had a similar policy.
Police enforced the dress code on Sept. 4 when Benjamin Russell High School of Alexander City played Sidney Lanier at Cramton Bowl. Fans who arrived at the gate with inappropriate attire were given an opportunity to return to their cars and change.
Hillary Tucker, a student from Benjamin Russell, didn't like the policy.
"Why should folks tell us how to dress to a football game?" she said.
Another Benjamin Russell student, Brooke Harrelson, said, "I think it's a good idea because some people dress a little too inappropriate for football games."
Louann Wagoner, superintendent of education in Alexander City, told the Montgomery Advertiser she supports the move and has spoken to school officials about adopting it.
Police Lt. Mark Drinkard says enforcing the dress code at basketball games on campus has cut down on problems, and he expects it to have the same effect at Cramton Bowl.
"We've had some fights and we want to improve accordingly," he told the Advertiser.