Kids can be cruel and bullying isn’t something that’s going to disappear overnight, but one New Jersey high school principal is trying to make life easier for his students who’ve been bullied for wearing dirty clothes to school. Principal Akbar Cook of Newark’s West Side High School took it upon himself to have a laundry room installed in the school so students could have a place to wash their clothes.
“They were choosing to stay home rather than coming to school to be bullied or ridiculed,” Cook told NJ.com. “We didn’t know until we started making calls.”
Teens at West Side High were being bullied for having dirty clothes and sneakers and had their photos posted to social media by those doing the bullying. Cook felt he needed to do something so he reached out to PSE&G, New Jersey’s utility supplier, in order to secure $20,000 in funding to install five washer and dryers in a converted football locker room.
Since installing the laundry room, the school has received donations of detergent to offset the costs.
“I refuse to let a kid come to school smelling or dirty and I’m sitting on a shirt that says ‘West Side on it,” Cook said.