NJ High School Opens Doors On Friday Nights To Keep Kids Out Of Trouble

Most teens would rather be anywhere than high school on a Friday night, but students from West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey are happy to hang out after school hours. The Lights On program at the school is in its fourth year and keeps hundreds of students having fun in the safe space until 11 p.m. on Friday nights.

Principal Akbar Cook explains that it’s not just about giving kids something fun to do, it’s about keeping them safe. “I haven’t lost any more kids to gun violence since the start of the school year,” he says. This school leader clearly cares about his students and made headlines last year when he installed a free laundry room on campus after learning some students are chronically absent because they didn’t have a place to wash clothes for school.

Lights On is made possible through community and alumni donations and they keep it going after the school year ends, opening up three nights a week during the summer. The students say feeling safe there is a big reason they keep coming back. One student explains why he comes with one word that says it all: “security.”


Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content