A group of roughly 40 fathers in Shreveport, Louisiana are taking turns monitoring their childrens’ high school to help prevent any further violence and to watch out for their—and all—children.
The parents greet students every morning, often times with jokes and words of encouragement, and kids say their positive reinforcement is working, following a violent three-day span at Southwood High School which saw 23 students arrested in September. Since the dads—who are coining the group name Dads on Duty and rocking associated T-shirts—showed up and began helping students get to class on time, there has yet to be a violent incident on campus, CBS News reports.
“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” said father and group originator Michael LaFitte.
Despite the group not having experience in school counseling or criminal justice, students at Southwood have shared that they feel the fathers have a sense of “power” about them, and that they feel a “form of safety” with them around. And school principal Dr. Kim Pendleton shares with KTBS that some kids on campus may not have a father figure at home, but might be able to view the men monitoring their campus with kindness as a “positive influence.”
“As they’re seeing familiar faces, then they’re saying, ‘Oh, there’s someone who cares about me and someone that’s invested in my education and in my future,’” Pendleton said.
As LaFitte told KTBS, the men are working to change the school’s narrative, and will be staying around campus for as long as they can.
“We’re here,” LaFitte said. “We’ve made a commitment to not only for the rest of this school year, but for the duration.”