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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 KSL.com.

“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

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • LKS

    Please ask Mr. White ‘whose’ standards he is expounding and why.

    • Djay

      Oh pls !! Get a life !! U must b one of the butt show-ers.

  • Cheryl

    I think it is about time dress in middle and high schools is addressed and dress codes are enforced.  Bare mid sections, bare bottoms and underwear are simply not acceptable in an academic or professional setting.  I grew up with dress codes and my psyche and sense of self certainly werent damaged.  If schhol administrators won’t enforce the rules, then so be it to legislators who want to effect change.  It is a shame there is not more paretn involvement.  My son did NOT get to sag in middle or highschool.  His psyche also survived.

  • Preachermom

    I live in Florida and have seen no real evidence of people pulling their pants up. I have to say that I think this is obtuse legislation, let’s not legislate clothing! I don’t think any of us really want to live like a bunch of Victorians!

  • Guest

    I strongly disagree that laws about dress are the way to get kids to change their dress culture. When I heard “Punishment” and “Urkeled” I was skeptical, but listening to Principal Bobby White of Westside Middle School made me so grateful that there is an educator out there who is considering dress on school property under the umbrella of preparing those kids to enter larger work and society culture. The way you dress says a lot about the way you yourself view your role in society. You might as well learn that before leaving the nest.

  • Djay

    About time someone got some common sence re this issue !! I tell these kids “pull ur pants up before ur brain freezes !!” :). Disgusting habit. Now they need to work on the girls w/their tops & bottoms hanging out !!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1591592773 Matt Bochneak
  • Retired Mid School Teacher

    What made me stop and say “Amen” during Principal White’s
    interview was his clear intent to make his students ready to go out into the
    world ready to compete and be confident in that effort.  In the book, “The Death of the
    Grown-UP,” Diana West noted that before WWII parent’s and school’s job was to
    make the child relevant to the world. 
    After WWII the job switched to making the world relevant to the
    child.  It is a challenging job to
    ready a child to be strong, self-controlled, and equipped with a set of functioning
    principles that will serve them well in their personal, social, and
    professional lives.  Fostering a
    student’s belief that the world will conform to them will only prolong their
    adolescence.  It is a sad trick to
    play on them.

      I’m a retired
    middle school teacher.  The amount
    of time, emotional energy spent in faculty meetings, with students, and parents
    robs everyone.  Appropriate dress
    is important.  School is not the
    same as outside of school time. 
    The difference is worth the effort to maintain.  It is not a place to hang nor is it a
    form of older child daycare.  It is
    a place of learning where work and progress is expected. 

      To make
    sagging a violation of a law bumps the practice up and make something else a
    matter for police and legal system enforcement.  Just as with people, when societies are not able to self
    regulate personal, social, and professional behavior laws are the sad
    recourse.  Again, expensive in
    time, money, and wear and tear on the society and culture’s soul.  

  • guest

    saggy pants are stupid they should ban them they look stupid n no one wants to see someone else ass

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