When a high school in Shreveport, Louisiana, became a stressful and unsafe place for students, a group of local dads found an unconventional solution.
With fights breaking out on a daily basis and 23 students arrested in just three days, parent Michael LaFitte knew instinctively that the problem wasn’t about the school. It wasn’t about the teachers. It was about parenting — it was a job for dads.
“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” Michael said.
He reached out to other fathers and started a group called Dads on Duty. So far, 40 dads have signed up to take shifts at the high school, and their very presence in the building has made a huge difference.
Each day, members of Dads on Duty stand in the hallways of Southwood High School to welcome students to school. They supply a constant stream of positive energy, including dad jokes that make the students laugh and cringe. They also give students “the look,” and anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a parent’s hard stare will tell you that’s often enough to keep people in line!
Ever since Dads on Duty came to the school, there have been zero incidences of fighting on school grounds. Zero!
Students say they feel safer just knowing the dads are in the building.
“I immediately felt a form of safety,” said one student. “We stopped fighting; people started going to class.”
“The school has just been happy — and you can feel it,” said another student.
The Dads on Duty program has been such a breath of fresh air that they’re planning to stay in the school for the foreseeable future. They’re also looking into expanding the program to other schools in their state, and maybe even taking it nationwide someday.
These loveable yet intimidating figures have made all the difference in these students’ lives. Perhaps they just feel “seen” by a friendly adult, which makes them less likely to misbehave. Perhaps, it’s just “the look!” Whatever the reason, we applaud these fathers for stepping in to make their school a safer, happier place to learn.
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