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Principal Puts Laundry Room In School to Help Bullied Kids

By Victor Trammell and Nomalanga Mhauli-Moses

Photo credits: ABC7NY

School-aged children raised in households that fall below the federal poverty level deal with all sorts of challenges.

In more maximal circumstances, some of these children may not have common household appliances installed in their home, including washers and dryers. The oftentimes insurmountable situations that surround impoverished children in the home lead directly to other adversities that happen at school, such as bullying.

At West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, principal Akbar Cook (pictured) presides over an initiative he created, which provides a school laundry room available to students who may be dealing with homelessness, lack of utilities in the home, or any other difficult life obstacles that form a barrier to obtaining clean clothes for school.

Cook was only at the school for a few weeks once he became aware of severe bullying, which was affecting some of his most impoverished students. Instead of sending notes home to parents, he took action. He did it by sacrificing the school football team’s locker room space in order to make an area for washer and dryer hook ups.

West Side High School’s swiftly decisive principal has zero tolerance for bullying in his school and fights for his most vulnerable students tooth and nail. He has the physical build of the typical-sized NFL outside linebacker. Instead of tacking quarterbacks, he is tackling the cycle of crime and violence that is rooted in the behavior of rogue students.

“Because the kids feel that and they’ll fight on that SAT or that test the same way you fight for them. That’s who I am. When school starts on September the 4th, my kids will be able to use it daily after school,” Cook said in an exclusive interview with a local Newark-based media outlet.

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