New Jersey High School Installs Free Laundry After Homeless Students Are Bullied for Dirty, Smelly Clothes

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A New Jersey high school principal took a very practical approach to a most humiliating situation.

After watching homeless students being shamed and bullied because their clothes smelled, West Side High School Principal Akbar Cook decided what he needed was washing machines and dryers.

It took him two years, but he secured a $20,000 grant and labor help from the Newark school district to renovate an old locker room into a free laundromat. 

"Five washers and five dryers, I got a ... sink right here," he proudly said.

Homeless students were ditching class because they were taunted for smelling bad and their clothes were dirty, Cook said.

It carried over onto social media, where Snapchat photos went up, captioned with, "Look at this dirty guy," he said. "You couldn't even escape it if you were on social media," he told WCBS-TV.

Student Dashawn Latham said sometimes his mother doesn't get paid and he has no money to wash his clothes. 

Nasirr Cameron, 15, said he's seen kids "in the back of the class talk about kids in the front of the class and how they smell."

But with the school's new industrial-grade laundry machines, Cook is hoping some of the bullying will be washed away. 


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