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An educator from Newark, New Jersey is doing all that he can to protect his students from becoming victims of bullying. Akbar Cook—the principal of West Side High School—transformed one of the spaces at the school into a laundry room so that students who were teased for wearing dirty garments would be able to wash their clothes, ABC News reported.

The idea for the laundry room came after Cook noticed that several students were skipping school because they felt self-conscious about their clothes, the news outlet writes. The students were often teased by their peers because of their hygiene.

There was one incident where a student refused to have her bag checked and it was later discovered that she was homeless and was ashamed of carrying a bag of unclean clothes back and forth to school. After noticing a rise in absenteeism, Cook decided to turn the football team’s locker room into a laundry room.

After news spread about the laundry room, individuals from the community stepped up and donated items like dryer sheets and detergent to offset the costs for students. “When school starts on September the 4th, my kids will be able to use it daily after school,” Cook told the news outlet.

He also added that although he’s only been in his role for two weeks, his students are his priority and he will continue to find ways to better their lives. Cook believes that creating a comfortable environment for students is key to keeping them engaged in the classroom and results in academic success.

Cook—a native of Newark—has been dedicated to empowering the community’s youth for quite some time.

According to, in 2016 he launched the Lights On Program where he turned West Side High School into a safe space for youngsters during the evening to keep them off of the street.

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12 thoughts on “Newark High School Principal Creates Laundry Room To Combat Bullying

  1. Beatrice Brown on said:

    God bless you for going above and beyond and may every child you help to continue their education become a blessing for you I pray God will reward you a hundredfold .No good deed goes unnoticed .

  2. Artherine on said:

    Why not create a GoFund account to help out with the laundry, and possibly buy clothing for the homeless kids since they are determined to get an education

  3. Jean Alexander on said:

    You come from a great person your Mother Diane was a great nice intelligent person. Keep up your excellent work. Keep making your Mother proud of you. I Salute you Principal Cook.

  4. tedgravely on said:

    Great job Principal Cook. Hopefully, the community will continue to support your initiative. Superb combination of leadership and compassion.

  5. Michael Middleton on said:

    This is what I deem as being proactive and excellent leadership! Principal Cook, we need more outstanding people like you in our society. Many thanks to your Sir.

  6. Dee White on said:

    How about requiring the bullies to wash their clothes to earn good behavior points and earn a valuable lesson in humility!

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