In Shreveport, Louisiana, Southwood High School had descended into chaos. In 72 hours, 23 students were arrested for fighting. Students spent more time fighting than attending class. It seemed hopeless. Enter: 40 local Dads, part of a group called “Dads on Duty.” They rotated going to the school, greeting kids at the door, bringing a more positive environment for their students. Since they began, there have been no more fights. And kids are going to class.
Black Lives Matter has a plank in their manifesto, now deleted, which aims to tear down the nuclear family. But the situation at Southwood High School flies in the face of that narrative. As Dads on Duty stepped up, problems went down. Dads are one of the essential ingredients to success. And too many kids are growing up without them, especially in the Black community.
Michael R. La’Fitte II formed the group Dads on Duty, About 40 Dads who volunteer to go into the Southwood High School to rein in the violence. No, they aren’t law enforcement, nor do any of them have a college degree for psychology or counseling. They’re just Dads who bring the Dad “look” and humor to bear on the problems. And the kids responded.
We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,
Michael R. LaFitte II
And it appears to be working.
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
Too many boys are growing up without a father in the home. Then they go to school and there aren’t enough strong male role models there, either. Boys NEED men to teach them how to be men! This shouldn’t be controversial to say. I’d love to see DADS ON DUTY in more schools! pic.twitter.com/PYO6ePYRPn
— Lisa Britton (@LisaBritton) October 23, 2021
“I immediately felt a form of safety,” a Southwood student told CBS News about their experience since the arrival of the dads. “We stopped fighting; people started going to class,” said another.
“We’re not a security force of any way,” La’Fitte told KSLA News about the group, none of whom have formal criminal justice or counseling degrees.
Students say the presence of the dads has not only been reassuring, but the added source of tough love and fatherly humor has provided students a bright spot in their school day.
“They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” a student told CBS News.” The school has just been happy — and you can feel it,” another added.
The Grio on Yahoo
Who is Michael LaFitte II? He was recently elected President of the Shreveport NAACP, which has been plagued by infighting. He wants to fix that too. For the school, he uses “dad jokes” and tough love to break the hold of anger on the students. It will be interesting to see how he works with NAACP members. IF he’s as successful there as he’s been at the school, some things could begin to turn around in America.
Dads On Duty is thinking about expanding to the rest of Louisiana, and then on to the rest of the nation.
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