Parents at Östermalmsskolan, a school in one of Stockholm’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, told parents in a letter last week that pupils would be expected to pull their trousers up.
The school said that displaying rear cleavage had been declared out of order back in the spring.
“Lots of people think hanging pants don’t look nice, and this is actually the children’s place of work. It’s not terribly hygienic either,” said Agneta Zetterström, headmistress at the school, to local paper Östermalmsnytt.
But hip-hop DJ Erik Kvarnsmyr, whose stepson Viktor Arvidsson, 8, attends the school, said the rule was “really silly.”
“I reacted really strongly when I got the letter,” he said.
“Schoolteachers shouldn’t be acting as fashion police. Knowledge is the really important thing,” he told The Local.
Kvarnsmyr, who also works at a school in a Stockholm suburb, said that banning low-hanging pants would never be considered there.
“But here on Östermalm it’s all a bit more suits and ties,” he said.
Following the fuss over the new rule, Zetterström told Svenska Dagbladet that the school’s position had been misinterpreted. She said that the school would only have words with pupils whose trousers had slipped down below a certain level.
“It’s not so pleasant when you can see the children’s buttocks,” she said.
The issue of hanging pants has been fuelling debate on both sides of the Atlantic. Officials in Dallas and Atlanta have been considering banning sagging pants from the streets altogether. The issue has also been raised in Sweden before, with a school library in southern Sweden saying that pupils following the fashion would be turned away.
US critics of the fashion say it was popularized by ex-convicts whose prison clothes came without belts, meaning their pants often sagged below the waistline.