Fathers in Shreveport, Louisiana, have begun taking shifts to supervise students at Southwood High School after 23 students were arrested for fighting over three days last month. Since the group Dads on Duty arrived on campus, the school has not had a single fight.
In September, Southwood High School saw a series of fights that led to the arrests of 23 students. On September 16 alone, multiple brawls led to the arrests of 14 students, KSLA reported.
“We had a fight at 9:30,” said Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator, according to KSLA. “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.”
Later in the afternoon, another fight erupted that required the school’s resource officer to call for backup from at least nine deputies, KSLA reported.
Additional fights throughout the week led to the arrest of more students, bringing the total number of arrests to 23, CBS reported.
The brawls prompted local fathers to take action.
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
“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” Michael LaFitte, the man who started Dads on Duty, told CBS.
Dads on Duty is comprised of about 40 fathers who take shifts at the school, according to CBS. They greet students in the morning and carry an air of relaxed authority which helps to preserve a positive learning experience for students, the outlet reported. No fights have been reported on the campus since the dads arrived.
“I immediately felt a form of safety,” a student told CBS.
“We stopped fighting; people started going to class,” another student told the outlet.
While fights have stopped, the school has seen a significant uptick in dad jokes.
“They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” a student told CBS.
“They hate it! They’re so embarrassed by it,” LaFitte told CBS after being asked about the dad jokes.
The Dads on Duty spoke to the importance of children having father figures in their lives.
“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,” they told CBS.
The fathers’ sentiments were echoed by the school’s principal, Dr. Kim Pendleton. “All they want to do is really to help us because there are a lot of kids that may or may not have a dad in their home, and so they want to be a positive influence on campus as well,” she told KTBS.
The group would like to continue to grow and begin chapters of Dads on Duty throughout the State of Louisiana, and eventually, throughout the United States, CBS reports.