To combat bullying, a Newark-based principal is stepping in for the students that get taunted for things out of their control. According to NJ.com, West Side High School’s Akbar Cook installed washing and drying machines to allow students with dirty uniforms to clean their clothes.
When he was a vice principal at that same school, Cook noticed students were missing classes because of the bullying due to the condition of their clothes or hygiene. “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, highlighting the fact that he gives his students unused school memorabilia like t-shirts to wear.
“They were choosing to stay home rather than coming to school to be bullied or ridiculed,” he said. “We didn’t know until we started making calls.” NJ.com adds that laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies were donated by a UPS store. Through a $20,000 grant made possible by the PSEG Foundation, these appliances were sent to the school and remain in the football locker room.
To keep up with the school’s curriculum, the students will engage in STEM programs while their clothes are being cleaned.
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