School installs laundromat for homeless students to stop bullying over dirty clothes
The West Side High school in New Jersey had even changed the school uniform to darker colors to stop the bullying
A school in New Jersey has installed an in-building laundromat facility for homeless students who attend the school as an anti-bullying measure. The West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey decided to install the laundromat when homeless students would start to skip school due to being bullied for wearing dirty clothes.
The principal of the school Akbar Cook told CNN, "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. I even changed the school uniform to darker colors so they could go more days without cleaning them but, even with that, students were struggling to have them look clean enough to attend".
One of the students Nasirr Cameron said, "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 has also overheard the students talking about the same thing.
"We are trying to teach them to navigate their pride. My kids are fighters — they just need good ways to fight for themselves, and then take pride in what they can do," Cook continued.
The principal applied for a grant from a local utility company and received an estimated $20,000 in order to transform an old football locker room into a laundromat. The renovations have been finished and the room now boasts five washers and also laundry detergent which was donated by people from all over the United States.
The school's operating assistant Nicole Daniel told CNN, "As the story has been spread, we have been receiving packages of detergent at the school and through our Amazon wishlist page. Many times the students may come in because they're embarrassed, they don't look the same, somebody's complaining about body odor. I would say, 'OK, baby, then we're going to have to do it the old way.' We have soap, we have water. Now, with this laundry room, we don't have to do that," Daniel continued.
The facilities are free to students and will be available between 3 and 6 pm.