Being bullied as a teenager is stressful enough. Add social media to the mix, and it makes the experience even more humiliating.
A New Jersey high school principal is making headlines for his unique approach to combating bullying and absences simultaneously. After noticing students being bullied for their dirty clothes, and their attendance dropping, Akbar Cook, principal of West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey decided to install a new laundromat in the school.
Akbar Cook was tired of students being belittled over their circumstances.
The principal said that a lot of his school students faced bullying as they didn’t have clean clothes to wear.
Cook said many students faced humiliation because they didn’t have anything clean to wear. Students would mock others who showed up with stains on their shirt or dirty pants, taking pictures to continue the harassment on social media.
So come September 4, the new free laundromat for students will be set up in the school premises.
“These are kids, good kids who want to learn, that are missing three to five days a month because they were being bullied because they were dirty,” Cook said.
Cook discovered a PSE&G grant from a foundation associated with one of Newark’s utility companies.
He then managed to secure $20,000 in funding from the Foundation and with that money he converted the football locker room into a laundry room, complete with five washing machines and five dryers.
The facilities are free for all students to utilize, some of whom are homeless and have no way to wash their clothes.
After news of what Cook had done for the students in the school appeared on social media, the community poured in their support by donating laundry detergent and dryer sheets through the school’s Amazon wishlist so that they could do their laundry entirely free of cost.
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