Dads on Duty, a team of about 40 fathers in Shreveport, Louisiana, is working together after a series of fights at a high school. Southwood High School hasn’t seen a single incident seen the fathers started patrolling the campus, CBS News reported.
“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Us,” said Michael LaFitte, the group’s founder.
Before the dads arrived, 23 students were arrested in a span of three days for fighting. One of the students was arrested after allegedly punching an assistant principal, according to KTBS. Now, the fathers have transformed the environment at the school, patrolling the campus, greeting the students every morning and making sure everybody gets to class on time.
“I immediately felt a form of safety,” one student said. “We stopped fighting; people started going to class.”
Another student said the dads also hold the incontestable power of the “look,” to remind teens to keep their attitude in check. The dad jokes also play a key role in creating a positive environment.
“They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” a student said.
None of the fathers have formal criminal justice or counseling degrees. But they use tough love and humor to make a difference in the lives of students.
“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,” one of the fathers said.
The dads also stay engaged with many of the students as they see them in their neighborhood. La’Fitte is one of the leaders in the Shreveport community. The Dads on Duty founder serves as president of the city’s NAACP chapter, according to KTBS.
Dads on Duty aims to launch chapters of Dads on Duty throughout Louisiana. They also want to eventually extend their service to other parts of the country.