Dads on Duty: Louisiana dads patrol school after series of fights, and there hasn't been one since
There hasn't been a single incident on the Louisiana high school campus since the dads showed up
SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA: A group of fathers in Louisiana have found a new way of dealing with violence at a high school. Dads on Duty, made up of about 40 fathers, patrols the halls of Southwood High School in Shreveport in shifts to deter the teenagers from fighting. The dedicated dads formed the group after 23 students were reportedly arrested within the span of just three days at the school.
As per CBS News, the fathers in the group take shifts, greet students in the morning and help maintain a positive environment for learning, rather than fighting. And reportedly, the students say it's working. There hasn't been a single incident on campus since the dads showed up. "I immediately felt a form of safety," one of the students said. "We stopped fighting; people started going to class." Another student said, "You ever heard of 'a look?'" while describing a "power" they claimed all dads have.
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
These fathers do not have degrees in school counseling or criminal justice, yet they do have some relevant experience. "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, said.
"They just make funny jokes like, 'Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,' but it's really not untied," a student commented, talking about the effect of so many dads at school. "They hate it! They're so embarrassed by it," LaFitte said of the students. Talking about why their presence has had an impact, one of the members of the group told CBS News, "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 school has just been happy — and you can feel it," a student said. And the fathers have bigger plans. As per the report, they'd like to start chapters of Dads on Duty throughout Louisiana — and hopefully eventually in schools across the country.
As many as 14 students were arrested on September 16 after two separate fights at Southwood High School, officials with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said. They were all charged with disturbing the peace. One student was reportedly charged with the battery of a school teacher for allegedly punching the school’s assistant principal.
Another student, Devin Welch, 18, was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed after reportedly resisting arrest and threatening the school resource officer and one of the school’s staff members. Welch was charged with resisting an officer and interference with the operation of a school. “We had a fight at 9:30,” said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator at the time. “I believe that there were seven kids that were. I call them kids, that sounds innocent. Seven of these thugs were expelled or sent home.”
“A bigger fight started at 3,” Sheriff Prator said. “At that point, we had ten or eleven units from CPSO come in from where we were patrolling to try and break up that fight. Then there were several more there who were sent home, there will be more that are expelled.”
Sheriff Prator said violence had been a problem for the school all year. “Southwood is one of the schools that we are trying to help with, but we have been having problems and fights with Southwood since the beginning of the school year. We have a gang problem there.”
He added, “We have several gangs that are trying to one-up each other and trying to act like grown men when they are just kids. We have got to somehow get a handle on the fact that this is illegal and disruptive behavior that they are involved in.”