All that glitters is gold in Savannah High’s toothy video

Great story out of Savannah High School where some clever students decided to make a rap of Principal Toney Jordan’s daily reminders to tuck in their shirts and take out their gold teeth. (In my high school, it would have been “stop hiking your uniform skirt and wash off that mascara.”)

Jordan told the Savannah Morning News, “I don’t allow my kids to talk to me with those removable gold teeth grills in their mouths, and we have a strict policy for tucking in shirttails.”

This clip shows the students making the music video, which had the principal’s blessing and the involvement of teachers. I think this is a great project that builds on teens’ interest in music and unites the school. It also reflects the willingness of school officials to have some fun now and then. Not need to comment on the video. Just enjoy.

Here is a video from the Savannah Morning News:

62 comments Add your comment


February 24th, 2011
6:45 pm

Are you kidding?

February 24th, 2011
7:06 pm

IF I KNEW NATHAN DEAL WAS GOING TO KILL HOPE, I would have voted for the other joker….


February 24th, 2011
7:25 pm

Right….Hope and Pre-k? Really…out of everything you could cut???? Great job going straight for education….I feel like a fool for expecting better…Shame on you deal


February 24th, 2011
7:35 pm

Having kids put skin in the game for their education is a good thing. There are no free lunches and they can join the rest of us where borrowed, worked and invested in ourselves instead of asking for free things.

They want a free college ride, earn a scholarship, join the military, or go part time at first


February 24th, 2011
7:36 pm

Oh yea Ch, their your kid (s), you pay for pre-k


February 24th, 2011
7:46 pm

Yeah, thats what you idiots get for voting for a known scum bag. What did you expect from a guy who quit his seat in Congress cause the axe was about to come down on him for ethics violations. That scum bag could care less about anything except making his money back on shady business deals. You are getting exactly what you voted for.


February 24th, 2011
8:08 pm

Wonder how many of those students sporting gold teeth are on free/reduced lunch?

Yep. I thought so to.


February 24th, 2011
8:22 pm


February 24th, 2011
8:47 pm

I think the students would look very nice in the their uniforms with their shirts tucked in.

Irritated black male

February 24th, 2011
8:54 pm

I’m a black man and I can’t stand this. We have a black president now and these kids are embarrasing. He’s black to most kids. They never think about following the example he sets and character he promotes. I wonder if they put as much time into math, science, english and social studies as they did with this video. This is the same school that had a video last year of a substitute who lost control over a class and kids were dancing and running around the class with the American flag. I would love to see these kids GPAs and End of Course test scores from the first semester. I’m all for having a little fun and creativity, but not when it puts out a negative message. I do promote groups like AWOL who try and send positive messages to our black youth. This is coonery and worse than when Eddie Murphy used to do BuckWheat on SNL. We laugh and chuckle at this and bob our head, but get mad at Bill Cosby when he tries to clean it up.

Who is John Galt?

February 24th, 2011
9:01 pm

Another example of why Maureen Downey is completely out of touch. What could possibly make her think that this is a “great story”?


February 24th, 2011
9:24 pm

Roger that, John Galt.

The best and the brightest?

Fitting the sterotype?

The principal and teachers involved should be replaced immediately.

Maureen Downey

February 24th, 2011
9:27 pm

@Who, Because a principal who can take a joke and channel the energy of kids into a video that involves the entire school is a smart guy. I think the video is fun, and everyone seems to be having a great time making it. I think the gold teeth are bizarre, but then again, I once wore go-go boots and white lipstick. I grew out of it. So will they.


Irritated black male

February 24th, 2011
9:39 pm

Maureen, I bet when you grew out of it and came to your senses, most of your friends weren’t on probation and you werent reading below grade level. I bet you were on the honor roll and didnt get suspended every couple of weeks. They will come to their senses, but will it be next week or next decade and they have to go back and catch up? Obama goofed off….at Harvard when he was going for his J.D. These kids see finishing high school as a monumental achievement. I listened to the whole song on Savannah now and it’s not anything that was part of Dr King’s dream.


February 24th, 2011
10:19 pm

@ Maureen: go-go boots and white lipstick? Sister, I wouldn’t have told THAT lol.

But I agree with you. Also that kid with the cymbals was pretty handy with them.

On another note: The first few times I came to your blog you were reporting on religious things. They were weeks, even months apart, and I only read your blog when it was linked from the main news page. Based on the few blogs I read, I made an erroneous assumption about you and your blog. I’m sorry for that.

in the months that have followed I have read you on a fairly regular basis and I think you do a great job of reporting on the educational status of not only our region, but our state as a whole. The funny thing is that one doesn’t expect “journalism” on a blog, yet you give it. I for one think you have hit the right balance of “journablogging” (lol I just made that word up). Thank you.

While I send my child to a private school, I am deeply concerned about the public schools, since as a citizen ALL the children are “my” children. Thank you for the great job you do.

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February 25th, 2011
12:59 am

That wasn’t what I was expecting after reading the article! The “performers” seemed to be just milling around in the hall mumbling non-sense. I don’t see anything creative going on.


February 25th, 2011
1:55 am

I think this scaling back of HOPE and the concern over a lack of education culture with minority students are just two more reasons to make more of an effort to ensure that children gain greater competency while they are still in primary and secondary school. I am working on a project that raises money for a group of Douglass High School juniors to get SAT and foreign language tutoring from Atlanta Tutors, a local service provider. Atlanta Tutors has been kind enough to offer their services for these students at a discount. Each hour of one-on-one tutoring is $50. These are great kids who want to do well and just need extra help to prepare them for scholarships and grants eligibility. If they receive enough instruction, perhaps they won’t need HOPE Donations can be made on the Atlanta Tutors websites at Please write Essential2Life in the “student name” field so that this project (which works with Douglass High students from Essential2Life) can get credit. Any inquiries can be directed to Kwanza Fisher

Thank you and really, keep hope alive. In the meantime, support our kids so that they can be proficient and deserving of full-rides to the colleges of their choice! 100% of monies raised go towards tutorials!



February 25th, 2011
7:07 am

THEY ALLOW THEIR KIDS TO HAVE FUN AT SCHOOL!? We are literally not allowed to do that. It is “fluff”, and we have a no fluff policy. So, no assemblies, no special activities until the last day or two of school. We’ve got to have our noses to the grindstone! Teacher-led, didactic instruction all day!

Ivan Cohen

February 25th, 2011
10:23 am

To Irritated Black Male: Before you go off tripping, well….you’ve already left. However when you come back to earth, how about going to Then you get in touch with our superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamany? Go to the next step and contact the principal of this school Dr. Toney Jordan. They(administrators, principals, teachers) have to reach the kids at their level first, then they can bring them up the standards expected by society at large. A few years ago Savannah High School was on the ropes. It was being counted down and out. This high school was in essence the 1955 movie “Blackboard Jungle”. They have come a mighty long way. To paraphrase Dr. Maya Angelou “they rise”. So you Irritated Black Male……..get off of their case!

Reality Check

February 25th, 2011
4:28 pm

I “HOPE” you repubs, are getting just what you voted for. But dont worry Repubs will have convenient amnesia when it comes to re-electing a Gov. who is thousands in debt, like they did when he got elected. Where do you think he waas going to get the money to pay his debt off?…. from his own pockets? yeah right. RepublicanS = crooks + good ol’ fashion american greed. Which by the way IS the american way.


February 25th, 2011
4:30 pm

Irritated black male: I agree with you:

Ivan Cohen: No one has to get in the gutter with them, watch the movie to sir with love, Sidney had class from the minute he walked in the class room.
This is the problem with these sorry A$$$ parents you always trying to be their friends and be cool instead of teaching and being their parents.

joe in tucker

February 25th, 2011
4:36 pm

@Ivan, you should go join them in school and maybe you can learn grammar along with the rest of them!


February 25th, 2011
4:51 pm

Yeah…Gas, Grass or Ass…no one gets a free ride.

Educated Black Man

February 25th, 2011
4:56 pm

@Irritatedblackman..Instead of you doing what most people do which is stand and point a finger how about you get involved with the youth of our community. I’m sick of people like Bill Cosby, which I respect his opinion and where he is coming from but grandstanding and pointing fingers does nothing for our community. So much time and energy is spent on talking down to the younger generation instead of passing on the baton of leadership, community building and self respect. What volunteer organizations are you involved with that deal with our youth, do you mentor, or do you just stand on the sidelines and complain. Be apart of the solution because if you are not then you are part of the problem. It’s so easy to stand, point and criticize instead of getting involved with as many young people possible. I have friends who didn’t always make the right choices, I didn’t always make the right choices, but who am I to stand and criticize. You mention Dr. King when or where did he ever talk down to or about his own people??? NEVER. The principal took upon himself to be creative with what is allowed in his school. I’m glad he has the balls to demand our kids to have more self respect, so instead of criticizing Get involved if not the shut up!!!!!!

George Johnson

February 25th, 2011
5:22 pm

And just how many of these kids are proficient enough at reading and writing, history and math, to be able to sacrifice the time and energy to do this?? Yeah, dang few. Which is EXACTLY why kids have to go through remedial reading/writing/math when/IF they go to college.

Schools seem to be about everything EXCEPT education these days. Baby sitting, political (left wing of course) indoctrination…..

Educated Black Man, Too

February 25th, 2011
6:37 pm

“Irritated” and “Ivan” make some solid points.

As my grandmother used to say, “we don’t have time for any foolishness” in the African American community, especially when it comes to those parts of our community that do not value education as they should. Yes, there are white communities in the same situation (truth be told, Georgia’s poor overall high school graduation rate is dragged down more by the white kids in north GA who drop out, than the African American kids in metro area schools). But I’m talking about our African American kids here (I have three, two in high school, one in 3rd grade).

And before you tell me to get involved, I have been for years as a volunteer coach of girls (track) and boys (T-ball, baseball, football and track). And my job for five years kept me heavily involved in schools in Atlanta. Whenever I was in a school, I carried myself in such a way as to be a proper role model for the students.

As a coach, I didn’t tolerate foolishness and nonsense from my players. I was hard on them and expected just as much out of them as I did/do from my own kids. (I’ve been asked to come back and coach again this spring …. I probably will)

And you know what? Now that they’re older, they have so much respect for me. Some of them I haven’t coached for years and they still call me “Coach” when I see them. I think that is because I believe the most important thing I taught them was respect. Respect for authority, respect for the game, respect for adults, respect for their teammates, and most importantly, respect for themselves.

With all due respect, Maureen, your “white lipstick” and “go-go boots” were excused as “youthful exuberance.” The gold grillz, sagging pants, etc. that is popular among far too many of our African American youth are thought of in a much more sinister light. Besides, as a poster pointed out, I’m sure you were reading and performing above grade level. I doubt any of these kids are doing the same.

It’s time for us as a people (African Americans) to stop excusing deviant, disruptive behavior. Yes, we should still be vigilant in recognizing and calling out racism and bigotry, because there is still plenty of that to go around. But we should stop denouncing Bill Cosby and people like “Irritated.” You may disagree with HOW he (and Cosby) said what he said, but you can’t discount WHAT he said and WHY he said it.

Rik Roberts

February 25th, 2011
7:04 pm

I went to Savannah High School back in the 80’s when it was at a different location and I am very saddened with what has become of my alma mater. Their school ranking is among the lowest in the state. It was so bad there that a few years ago they changed the name of the school and split it into two different schools just so they could skirt the no child left behind issue – for two years anyway. This is not the school that I or my mother went to by a long shot.

As for the dress code issue and the video – I could not care less.


February 25th, 2011
7:47 pm

@Irritated black male I concur.


February 25th, 2011
9:09 pm

Wow, Irritated expressed a need to hold our youth to a higher expectation and was admonished. Reach for the minimum, people. When you hang aroung the bottom rung it makes it easier for people to step on your neck.


February 26th, 2011
12:24 am

@Educated Black Man: I have often disagreed with you, but on this I am with you. What did those children do in that video that was so wrong that folks are so up in arms about? They did a parody. I would suggest that the folks whining lack the mental capacity to even know what the word parody means much less be able to spot one.

I enjoyed the fact they they were comfortable enough with the administration to even DO a parody. To me that shows that the admin (principal) is a strong positive figure whom they look up to. From the video, I can conclude that he enforces the policies he sees fit, yet has reached the kids to a point that they can laugh WITH him, not at him. They (the kids) get it. I don’t know why I am explaining this. You understand and the others are to pig headed to even try. All I can say is that I would welcome any of those kids in MY home and am proud that they took the initiative. It gives me hope for the next generation……….

Savannah Teacher

February 26th, 2011
1:17 am

I teach in Savannah (not at Savannah High, but at a school with similar demographics) and I think people are being too quick to judge these kids and an administration who understands how important it is to reach kids on their level.

I’m not trying to sugarcoat things. Savannah High has a horrible reputation in this district, and a sub losing control in class doesn’t even scratch the surface. I am a white female decidedly underwhelming when it comes to physical stature, and I used to say if I was transferred to Savannah High, I would quit. Now I realize I wouldn’t. Kids are kids. They need an education; they need responsible adults; sometimes they need adults who understand that kids are kids and want to do fun things sometimes. They need people who care about more than test scores.

We have got to stop tarring all urban kids with the same brush. Not every kid with gold in his mouth is a felon in waiting. And I know personally know kids associated with groups like AWOL who take zero responsibility for their own education or behavior. Some kids are better than others; some teachers are better than others; some parents are better than others. If we don’t recognize strengths when we see them, that constant stream of negativity is going to drag us all down.


February 26th, 2011
9:39 am

The state is broke..”are you kidding @7:06″. its not just Ga. and its not a “Gov Deal thing” there is no MONEY $$$$… get it.


February 26th, 2011
9:41 am

The Kids are just having fun….i don’t agree with dirty dancing but anything to help kids I’m for it.


February 26th, 2011
9:49 am

Educated Black Man… As much I hate to say it, I somewhat agree w/you. As a school teacher, I realize it is important to reach kids where they are first, and once they feel respected, then we can teach them better ways. Unfortunately, children are not being cultivated anymore for various reasons such as overworked single or double parent (s) to grandma raising second families, to just simply being neglected. When our government decides to respect families, and offer more social programs for families (free afterschool care for all income levels, more community centers, more outreach programs, more social workers for our schools, etc.), we will see differences in our schools. Give them a chance and involve yourselves in your communities, schools and give a helping hand to struggling neighbors if you can. We have lost these ideals as a society so don’t isolate the children as if they come from another planet. They come from us, and the materialism we value as a society.


February 26th, 2011
10:10 am

This video really does not help the kids case.


February 26th, 2011
10:43 am

gold teeth are not attractive, a waste of money. what is the point it getting them and covering up your nice pearly whites. gov deal is going to cut education but it sounds like these kids need it. they are going to fall back and be in jail before you know it. that video is such a disgrace to georgia and everyone living in it. i feel sorry for the school because it has such a bad rep and that makes it worse


February 26th, 2011
10:50 am

Maureen, you’re totally right… that production is probably one of the top accomplishments coming out of Savannah High this year – GREAT story and those kids got some talent. India, China – watch out – we’re back!

Unimpressed & Depressed If This is "Great Stuff"

February 26th, 2011
11:10 am

Everyone thinks they are a “star” when the video is recording.

They look like nice kids with positive energy. The uniforms make them look sharp and smart.

However, no one can understand a word they are slurring. Please teach these kids how to communicate intelligently.

No diction, no enunciation, no vocabulary = no decent jobs.

And for goodness sake, stop blowing money on fake gold teeth caps. For $5,000 you can have orthodontia and a movie-star smile for the rest of your life!

Next to drugs, gold teeth, and junk like spinning rims on a car are the biggest waste of money that do more to set you back in status and life.

The principal is right: get rid of the gold teeth, tuck your shirt in, stand up with your shoulders back, speak distinctly, and plan the path to make something of yourself because “the future” is tomorrow morning.

Bill S

February 26th, 2011
11:10 am

I see some kids being kids for a moment. Harmless and they are having a moment of fun. I am not into the gold grill thing or rap, however I recall 40 years ago when I was their age my parents did not really shine to the long hair, bell bottom jeans, and rock and roll thing either. I see no harm and no foul in these young people expressing themselves in this particular school activity. Being creative and imaginative is a great thing. I see a lot of smiles and kids having fun socializing together, and I like that!


February 26th, 2011
11:14 am

If I did this I would be riden out of town on a rail. I am white


February 26th, 2011
11:14 am

Yikes! Ridden. sorry

No Problem

February 26th, 2011
11:17 am

As long as the video sends a positive message about respect for self and others, I see no harm in it. Let the students rap their hearts out.


February 26th, 2011
11:46 am

there is nothing creative about that. they are in the halls mumbling garbage


February 26th, 2011
12:26 pm

Awful video. Deal did not kill hope, he just made it more of a scholarship than a freebie. A 3.0 GPA in H.S. is a joke.

Jacki June

February 26th, 2011
12:45 pm

How about some Raps on how to get a good command of the english language and speak it.
The messages of no pants on the ground, hanging shirttails, teeth grills are great if one could understand what’s being said.

truth hurts

February 26th, 2011
12:45 pm

Gee, I thought the Georgia Lottery was all about education. They lied to all of us. Where is all of that money going now? These kids are talented but are unfortunately stereotypically labeled. WE ARE ALL AMERICANS nothing else needs to be in front of that. The label “African-American” was created to make a racist group of black people not feel so bad about being black because of the many blacks that are in jail, strung out on drugs, thieves, crackheads, wife beaters, dead beat fathers, etc etc. Guess what folks, there are plenty of whites strung out on crack and meth, in jail, wifebeaters, deadbeat fathers, etc etc. Whites dont need a label in front of the word American to feel better about the trash that our race has. If that was the case I would be considered a Scottish-English-Irish-Native-American. What was so offensive about the Georgia state flag that provoked blacks to try and change it? On my fathers side of the family my ancestors fought and died in that war that was incorrectly labeled by saying it was about slavery.On my mothers side of the family I am a direct decendant of John Brown. Google that name and read real history on the net. One more question, does medicaid pay for gold teeth?
Just saying stop the labeling of everybody,,,stop the b/s,,,pull your pants up and act like you have some respect for yourself,,,earn a legal living,,,quit raping medicaid,,,quit making a joke of our educational system,,,and for goodness sake, stop wanting a free ride on honest hardworking tax payers. By the way, I’m white and my wife is black and our kids are whack and blite,,,


February 26th, 2011
12:57 pm

He may principal of the year in my book. He stands firm on his dress code yet allows the kids a voice in a respectful way. This is a win win. It shows mutual respect to me.


February 26th, 2011
1:05 pm

Don’t you love the way our kids have been taught that being illiterate ghetto trash is something to aspire to?

When I was young, we were (sort of) taught to expand our horizons and at least *try* to be somebody – today, nothing of the sort; all you need is a Kindergartener’s skill at making bad rhymes, and you’re good to go. . .

Maureen Downey

February 26th, 2011
1:18 pm

@Bill S, I agree with you on all points. Not sure how folks can watch kids making a schoolwide video with teachers and see the end of civilization. This is a principal who knows how to engage kids. I applaud the school.