A school in the state of New Jersey, US, will be installing washing machines to prevent pupils from being bullied for having dirty clothes.
Kids can be cruel, especially in secondary school. Victims of bullying can be picked on for even the most minuscule of things, which is why one school has made the decision to install washing machines for students whose parents can’t afford one.
It’s a luxury many of us seem to take for granted but now, pupils at the West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, will be able to wash their dirty clothes in a laundry room, free of charge.
This new school initiative was started by the school’s principal, Akbar Cook who said it wasn’t a ‘one off’ thing as any many of his students don’t have clean clothes to wear.
He also recognised some of his students became victims of bullying as they didn’t have the means to clean their clothes. Which is why before the new school term begins, he wanted washing machines installed on school site.
Speaking to CNN, Cook said:
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.
The good-willed initiative began after an incident occurred last school term. One of the students, a teenage girl, started screaming and fighting with the school’s security guard when tried to check her bag.
Principle Cook revealed:
The police later told me she had dirty clothes in her bag because she was homeless and didn’t want anyone to know. She was fighting for her pride.
He says many students at West Side faced ridicule because they don’t have anything clean to wear. To rectify the issue and to prevent more situations of bullying and victimisation he’s had a free laundromat room installed just in time for the new term, which begins September 4.
Social media seemed to escalate the problem at the school. Classmates would sometimes take pictures of other students and then tag them on social media sites, such as Facebook.
A student, Nasirr Cameron, told WCBS:
I’ve seen a few kids in the back of the class talk about one of the people in front of the class and how they smelled and how their clothes looked dirty.
Principal Cook also heard the students talking about their peers. He saw the posts and quickly realised the bullying was a top reason why 85 per cent of his students chronically missed term days.
Two years ago, Cook applied for a grant from a foundation associated with one of Newark’s main utility companies, PSE&G.
He received $20,000 to turn an old football locker room into a school laundromat.
The renovations are now complete and the room is complete with five washers, five dryers. A growing stock of detergent has been donated from around the country.
Absolutely brilliant! I hope the initiative stamps out the bullying!
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