Some Students At West Side High School Were Being Picked On Because They Didn't Have Clean Clothes, So The Principal Stepped In


NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A high school in New Jersey is getting off to a “clean” start this year.

The principal discovered students were being bullied for coming to class with dirty clothes, so he’s giving them a chance to go from the classroom into the laundry room, all under the same roof, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Wednesday.

Students at West Side High School are picking up a new skill this year, a life skill. They are doing their laundry.

The purpose of the new on-campus laundromat is to wash away the vicious cycle of bullying.

“I’ve seen a few kids in the back of the class talk about kids in the front of the class and how they smell and how their clothes look dirty,” 15-year-old Nasirr Cameron said.

The new laundromat inside West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo: CBS2)

Students are limited in what colors they can wear because of a school dress code. Rising senior Dashawn Latham said he only gets to the laundromat once every two weeks.

“The money. My mother don’t be home. She working and I gotta call her and sometimes she don’t get paid,” Latham said.

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The barrier is so bad that Principal Akbar Cook said 85 percent of kids were missing three to five days of school a month.

“They was being bullied, and it wasn’t just like in the building. It was on Snapchat. I’m sitting behind you and take a picture of your collar. Look at this dirty guy,” Cook said.

So Cook spent the last two years lobbying for that help, eventually securing a $20,000 grant from PSE&G and getting labor from the Newark Public Schools to turn the football team’s locker room into a free, on-campus laundromat with commercial-grade machines.

“Five washers, five dryers. I got a slop sink right here,” Cook said.

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The laundry room will be available to students every day after school from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m and they can be escorted by a teacher if they have an urgent need. Plus, they don’t need to worry about laundry supplies. Donations have poured in.

“There are many times that the students may come in because they’re embarrassed,” social worker Jamila Hammond said. “They don’t look the same. Someone’s complaining about body odor. I would say, ‘Okay baby, then we going to have to do it the old way — you have soap and you have water.’ But now, with this laundry room, we don’t have to do that.”

If you would like to donate laundry supplies, please click here.

Comments (8)
  1. “My mother she don’t be home. She working and I gotta call her and sometimes she don’t get paid”. And this principal is worried about the students having clean clothes! They have a lot more problems that that if this girl is a Senior.

  2. Well, that will be coming to California soon. With the proposed water rationing and skyrocketing electric rates, people will be sending their kids to school with the same clothes for days on end. OK, maybe they’ll alternate dirty clothes every third day. Underwear, no problem, nobody will know. Maybe we’ll see more of the dumping of human waste in cities other than San Francisco. Flushing that toilet uses water that might be needed for the occasional shower. At least the golf courses in the Palm Desert will continue to keep the elites happy. It’s all those lowly masses that use so much water.

  3. ATTENTION DEMOCRATS: Communism is a stupid idea that never works. Stop trying it over and over expecting a different result

    1. Having the laundry facilities in school is not communism. Note that the principle got PSE&G to fund it and private donations provide supplies. The only thing the school provided was labor to install the machines, not a huge item. The payoff means sweeter smelling students and some relief from bullying, in addition to potentially better attendance. It is a win/win. I taught in an urban high school for 20 years with no air conditioning. The body odor of a lot of my students was brutal, especially athletes. In a perfect world every family would have a washing machine and parents who make sure their kids shower and wear clean clothes. In the real world it isn’t always so. I have had kids tell me that they don’t have a functional bathroom or toilet in their house and that they have to poop in plastic bags and dispose of it. Very pathetic situation but the kid should not have to suffer. This laundry room in the school is a small accommodation. I agree with Hugh that the principle came up with a reasonable and compassionate solution, with little cost to the taxpayer.

  4. Hugh Tjardon says:

    Typical bad “community” parenting. Why should the kids suffer? Good solution. MAGA

  5. Since the school (read ME as the tax payer) has to provide everything for these deadbeat kids, we might as well just keep the kids in the school 24/7. What reason is there to send them home? Custody should be taken from the parents, because they are obviously useless.

  6. Mark Douglas Hawkins says:

    “The money. My mother don’t be home. She working and I gotta call her and sometimes she don’t get paid,” Latham said. I wonder, an English major? So let me understand, some schools providing breakfast, lunch, after school “hearty snack”, sex ed, and some, back pack (week end take home) meals, now washing clothes? What do the parents do? Oh, procreate, accept “assistance” and don’t get married?

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