40 Dads Form Group To Help Stop Violence At Louisiana High School

by Julie Scagell
CBS Evening News/Youtube

There hasn’t been a single instance of fighting at the school since Dads on Duty arrived

After a week of violent fighting in a Louisiana high school, dozens of dads stepped in and stepped up to help with the situation, which resulted in 23 students being arrested in three days.

Southwood High School parents and school administrators were at the end of their rope with all the fighting happening between students. That’s when a group of about 40 dads sprang into action and formed Dads on Duty. The group take shifts spending time at the school welcoming students in the morning and being an example of positivity and connection for those who are struggling.

“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” Michael LaFitte, who started Dads on Duty, told CBS. Whatever they are doing is working — there hasn’t been a single incident of fighting since Dads on Duty showed up to help.

They aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary and don’t have backgrounds in counseling. They are simply showing up, telling some bad dad jokes, and creating a positive environment for all students so they can concentrate on learning.

“I immediately felt a form of safety,” one of the students said. “We stopped fighting; people started going to class.” Another said, “You ever heard of ‘a look?'” joking about the power dads have when they want to get something across to the students.

Of course, humor always works with kids, even if they don’t want to admit it. “They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” a student said. “They hate it! They’re so embarrassed by it,” LaFitte said of the students. But it’s hard to fight when you’re surrounded by a mood that feels lighter than it did before.

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

Dads on Duty has been so successful, the group not only plans to continue showing up for the students at Southwood, they’d like to open more chapters throughout the country, first starting in their home state of Louisiana.

This is the epitome of “it takes a village,” and an act of selflessness and love that students can really feel. It’s one thing to hear about something happening in your community and actually doing something to make an impact. Dads on Duty has definitely put their words into action, and the school is better for it.

“Because not everybody has a father figure at home – or a male, period, in their life,” the dads told CBS. “So just to be here makes a big difference.”