Black Dads Matter!
A group of Louisiana dads teamed up to support a local high school after 23 students were arrested for a violent week of fighting, CBS News reports. Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, experienced a traumatic, violent week of fighting, which resulted in the arrest of 23 students in three days. That's when parents decided that something had to give, and a group of local dads stepped in to lend their support.
Led by Michael LaFitte, the group of about 40 dads began "Dads on Duty," with the sole goal of creating a more supportive atmosphere for the students at the school. Every day they took shifts spending time at Southwood High, greeting students in the morning and assisting with maintaining a positive learning environment. Now, the kids say it's working, and the school hasn't recorded a single incident on school grounds since the dad squad showed up.
"I immediately felt a form of safety. We stopped fighting; people started going to class," one student said.
"You ever heard of 'a look?'," another student added, speaking of the power of the presence of the fathers.
Other students spoke to the combination of tough love and warmth that they feel with the dads being around.
"They just make funny jokes like, 'Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,' but it's really not untied," a student exclaimed.
"The school has just been happy - and you can feel it," said another.
LaFitte said this was their goal all along, and he plans to keep dispelling the negative energy in the building.
"We're dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who...us," the Dads on Duty founder explained.
Now the group says they'll stay at Southwood indefinitely, with plans to start chapters throughout Louisiana and hopefully one day take the program to other schools across the country.
"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," said the dads.
Thank you for your service, gentlemen. Because of you, we can!
Photo Courtesy of Dads on Duty/WVUE