Westside Middle School in Memphis had a problem that many schools face: Students wearing extremely baggy pants. It’s a look made popular by rap stars but it’s a look Principal Bobby White just cannot stand. A firm believer in the idea that looking right leads to acting right and thinking right, he set out to put an end to the nonsense.
But when students continued to wear their pants hanging halfway to their knees despite a school policy forbidding it, White got creative. Rather than send kids home or sentence them to detention, he ‘Urkeled’ them.
Yes, that Urkel.
On the old sitcom “Family Matters” the character of Steve Urkel was famous for two things: The catchphrase “Did I do that?” and his habit of wearing his pants hiked up practically to his armpits. That look was good for laughs on television but at Westside Middle School, it has proved to be a very good way to teach baggy pants-wearing kids a lesson.
Students who come to school in violation of the dress code get ‘Urkeled’ by having their pants pulled up as far as they will go and securely fastened with plastic zip ties. But that’s not all. ‘Urkeled’ students also get their photo taken and displayed on the ‘Urkeled’ Wall for all the school to see and laugh at.
And it works. At first, about 80 students a week were getting ‘Urkeled.’ But within five weeks, that number dropped to about 18 per week.
Principal White may be striving to help his students look like proper young men, but he knows the real reason the ‘Urkel’ treatment works: It’s hilariously embarrassing.
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