As I watched the interviews of Black men, most of them fathers and some who aren’t; I beamed with pride as they each talked about how they took a stand against the violence in one Shreveport, LA school.
The videos of students fighting were enough to turn my stomach. As always my thoughts went to what I would have done had I come upon fights involving any child I fed, clothed and provided a safe living environment for.
Just the thought of my child bullying another child, or a teacher, or just the thought of my child being bulled by another child or marginalized by a teacher; were just causes for me to take charge.
And that’s what Southwood High School’s Dad’s on Duty (or Dads on Duty) have done — taken charge!
Which brings me to my truth.
These men in Louisiana have taken on another job; committing to hours of active duty patrolling classrooms, talking to students, and serving as resources for faculty and staff at Southwood; where in a three-day period, 23 students were arrested.
Since Dad’s on Duty arrived on campus, not one incident!
These men are doing so much to make a difference and their actions are going to have longterm effects.
There will be some students who will remember those valiant Dad’s on Duty as bold men who gave them attention that ultimately kept them out of prison or a deviant lifestyle. The men will be remembered by some who don’t have a man in the household, or worse, the man is there but he is abusive, unemployed, or participating in illegal activity.
The Dad’s on Duty are heroes. They made me think of so many men who are doing great things in other arenas, but I also found myself thinking about the men who are not doing anything productive; or they are incarcerated, drug addicted, or sexual offenders.
Maybe a Dad on Duty could have saved them,
Across the country there are similar programs, some even of a military nature. Here in Texas, Frisco ISD is one school district
that participates in a national program, WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students).
According to it’s website, WATCH D.O.G.S. is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement, organizations in the country.
Each school year hundreds of thousands of fathers and father-figures volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school principal or other administrator.
Founder Michael LaFitte, II and other fathers say they are changing the narrative. They are providing a strong, supportive force that is being well received by the students.
Dads on Duty would like to multiply and spread out across the country.
Can you see why I just love them?
Now it’s true that everyone can’t get out like the men who have stepped forward across the country; however, we can still provide support.
And let’s face reality, parenting is hard. Dad’s on Duty can help, and so can you! Check out their Facebook page and reach out. Or contact them at South- wood,
Find out how you can help them because they had the vision and then look at the schools in your neighborhood and see how you can make a difference at home.
I think I will start by sending lunch to Southwood, or maybe ordering 100 shirts to help out.
When folks talk about a village; this has to be what they are talking about.
The late Dr. Julia Hare said, “When they took discipline away from the parents, we found out that: The teachers were afraid of the Principals. The principals were afraid of the Superintendents. The Superintendents were afraid of the School Board. The School Boards were afraid of the parents. The parents were afraid of the children. The Children WERE NOT afraid of anyone!”
It may be a new day and fear doesn’t work, but there is something to say about love and attention; and that’s just what these men are giving.
I salute the men who are step- ping up, and I just love them!