When 23 students were arrested in three days after a week of violent fighting in school, a group of parents from Southwood High School needed to do something because they knew that something had to change.
Some dads from the school stepped up and took matters into their own hands. They formed Dads on Duty, a group of about 40 dads who take different shifts spending time at the high school in Shreveport, Louisiana, greeting students every morning and helping keep a positive environment for students learning, rather than fighting each other.
The students say that it’s really working and the numbers are proving it. There hasn’t been a single incident on school grounds since the dads showed up.
Think about it. The Dads don’t really even have to do much except stand there greeting the kids as they come and go, because the students realize that they have the authority to break up fights and turn bullies in who start picking on kids or start fights.
When interviewed by CBS Evening News, a group of Dads on Duty had it pointed out to them that none of them have degrees in school counseling or criminal justice and when asked what makes them think they can do this job, they gave the best reply possible:
“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” Michael LaFitte, who started Dads on Duty, replied.
DADS ON DUTY: After a violent week of fighting at a Louisiana high school, parents knew something had to change. So, a group of dads decided to show up not just for their kids – but for the whole student body – to help maintain a positive environment. @SteveHartmanCBS has more. pic.twitter.com/Uux3qx48sd
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 22, 2021
Folks, this is as American as it gets. It’s what I love about America. Americans don’t sit around and wait for other people to fix a problem. They get up and do something when they see something needs to be done.
After they started the Dads on Duty program, any negative energy that comes into the school building now has to run the gauntlet of good parenting, and who else can bust kids’ chops in a funny yet authoritative way than an American dad?
“I immediately felt a form of safety,” one of the students told the outlet. “We stopped fighting. People started going to class.”
One student gave one of the secrets away. “You ever heard of ‘a look?’” a student asked while describing a “power” they claimed all dads have. I never forget my dad’s “look” and my two boys can tell you about mine.
And it’s not just the stern look that gives out warnings – it’s the dad jokes too.
“They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” a student commented. Brilliant! They’re letting the kids know they’re cool with them, but if they get out of line they’re going to regret it.
“They hate it! They’re so embarrassed by it,” LaFitte said of the students taking the jabs from the witty dads who greet them when they come in.
It comes across to the kids as the perfect blending of funny ribbing and tough love that only dads do so well, and according to those who see it, Dads on Duty has helped transform the school.
“The school has just been happy — and you can feel it,” one student said.
Now the dads have decided to keep going to Southwood High School indefinitely.
“Because not everybody has a father figure at home or a male, period, in their life. So just to be here makes a big difference,” the dads said.
They want to open chapters of Dads on Duty throughout Louisiana and they hope to eventually move on to schools across the country.
Way to go, Dads on Duty! A great idea that works.
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Author: Rich Welsh
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