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Monday, April 2, 2012

Memphis Middle School’s Punishment For Saggy Pants: ‘Urkelize’ Them


Boys who wear their pants down too low at the Westside Middle School in Memphis get “Urkelized” if all else fails.

Yes, we’re talking about nerdy Steve Urkel from the 90s sitcom “Family Matters,” who famously wore his pants hiked way up.

“I thought it was a joke, until I got Urkeled.”

– Westside Middle School student

A number of states, including Tennessee, are considering laws to ban saggy pants. Arkansas and Florida already ban saggy pants.

But Principal Bobby White of Westside Middle School says the law isn’t necessary. His approach is to talk to the young man first and try to convince him to hike up his pants. Then the school calls the child’s parents.

If that fails, zip ties are used to tighten the pant’s waistline.

“I thought it was a joke, until I got Urkeled,” one student told

“They can put your pants as high as your chest, and they can put as many as three or four [zip ties] on you,” another student told the website. “Students know to strap up or get strapped up around here.”

Brown says his job is to educate children and he needs to teach them that saggy pants aren’t conducive to learning — and won’t work in the workplace.


  • Bobby White, principal, Westside Middle School, Memphis, Tennessee

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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