In three days, 23 students were arrested for fighting at one high school. Then these dads showed up.
The incidents of students fighting at Southwood High School in September were overwhelming. CBS News reports that in just three days, 23 students were arrested for violence toward one another at the Shreveport, Louisiana high school. One student was even accused of battery after punching an assistant principal, according to KTBS News.
A group of dads decided enough was enough. They took matters into their own hands—by taking themselves into the school hallways.
Dads on Duty is a group of around 40 fathers who organize in shifts to have a daily presence at the school. They show up clad in matching t-shirts with their bad dad jokes and stern looks at the ready, engaging with the student body in a way that only dads can. With a mix of tough love and humor, they make sure students get to class on time and keep everyone in line.
Michael LaFitte founded Dads on Duty to bring a fatherly presence to the students who might not have good examples at home.
"We're dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us," LaFitte told CBS News.
These guys for President. All of them. https://t.co/xfdLgI7Ayp— Heath Mayo (@Heath Mayo) 1634998388.0
That tough and tender care seems to be working. Since Dads on Duty started their shifts, there have been no more fights at the school.
"I immediately felt a form of safety," one student told CBS.
"We stopped fighting. People started going to class," said another.
"The school has just been happy—and you can feel it," said a third.
Dads help curb violence at Louisiana high schoolwww.youtube.com
Principal Kim Pendleton told KTBS that students love having these father figures at the school. Many of the kids know the dads from church or from their own neighborhoods, and Pendleton said she hopes more parents will join the effort.
"Because not everybody has a father figure at home—or a male, period, in their life," one of the dads told CBS. "So just to be here makes a big difference."
@HeathMayo The moment your child comes into the world, god also bestows upon you the ability to give…”the look” https://t.co/FQ1iEu13L4— Michael Nu/Sun (@Michael Nu/Sun) 1635005571.0
Dads on Duty told KTBS that they saw an opportunity to set an example and to show the community their love for the school. They hope to establish more chapters throughout Louisiana and perhaps around the country as well.
The CBS segment on the group has been well-received. People are loving what these dads are doing, from the universal understanding of "the look"…
Amazing how transformative a simple, strong, caring presence can be. Way to go, dads.
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