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Grassroots ‘Dads on Duty’ forms to patrol violent high school halls, and it’s a total game changer

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Fathers hanging out at a high school to prevent fights? It’s no dad joke – fathers headed back to school after a string of violent incidents had the police becoming a regular presence at one Louisiana school.

When 23 students were arrested in 3 days for fighting at school, parents of students at Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana knew that something had to be done. In a novel idea to reduce violence and tension, approximately 40 fathers began showing up at school in shifts, showing up in the morning to greet students, and sticking around throughout the day to help change the violently charged atmosphere.

So far, the results seem promising. Students say the presence of the dad patrol has improved the situation and the overall atmosphere at the school and, in a more tangible metric, there haven’t been any incidents of fighting on campus.

“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” said Michael LaFitte, who started the group, called Dads on Duty, to CBS News.


(Video: CBS Evening News)

Other students agreed with this assessment:

“I immediately felt a form of safety. We stopped fighting; people started going to class,” said one student.

“You ever heard of ‘a look?'” said another student, while describing a special “power” they claimed all dads have.

“The school has just been happy — and you can feel it,” another student added.

The approach isn’t strictly stern looks and arms-folded power stances, though. What’s a dad without dad jokes?

“They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” said one student.

“They hate it! They’re so embarrassed by it,” commented LaFitte on the unique brand of fatherly humor. “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 Dads on Duty program has no set end date. For as long as the parents are willing, the group intends to continue indefinitely. The students seem fine with this, and even the notoriously negative Twitter expressed its approval:

The Dads on Duty have stated that they’d like to start chapters throughout Louisiana – with the goal of eventually spreading across the United States.

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