The Urkel Initiative, saggy pants

Saggy pants are no longer an issue at one Memphis middle school, not since Principal Bobby White started The Urkel Initiative.

Steve Urkel Pants
Jaleel White as Steve Urkel.

Saggy pants are no longer an issue at Westside Middle School in Memphis, not since Principal Bobby White started “The Urkel Initiative.”

That’s because any student caught with pants hanging low or their underwear showing risks being “Urkeled”—that is, having their pants hiked up and fastened with twist ties. The result is that the student is left looking a little like Steve Urkel, a lovable nerd in the ‘90s sitcom “Family Matters.”

Principal White has actively encouraged staff members to “urkelize” students – offering a trophy to the staffer who bags the most offenders.  The student is also photographed, and their picture displayed on a bulletin board inside the school.

“I thought it was a joke until I got Urkeled,” says 7th grade Jadarius Walton. “All the girls laugh and tell you how ridiculous you look.”

When White launched the initiative several weeks ago, upwards of 80 students a day were getting Urkelized. Now it’s just a handful a day.

Keldrion Vann, 13, says he has been Urkeled eight or nine times already. “It’s kind of funny, but embarrassing too because they do it at lunchtime with everyone looking,” he says. “You have to wear [your pants] like that for the rest of the day, or until you find a pair of scissors.”