The Phenomenal Success of Dads on Duty

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Over the course of three days, 23 students at a high school in Shreveport, LA were arrested after getting in fights at school.

While this is a sobering insight into public schools in America, this is unfortunately not exactly “news.” What is, however, is what some local parents decided to do about it.

A group of around 40 dads in Southwood High School’s community decided to form a group they call Dads on Duty, taking up posts around the school to spread a positive parental influence among students.

CBS writes,

“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, said.

Now, any negative energy that enters the building has to run the gauntlet of good parenting.

“I immediately felt a form of safety,” one of the students said. “We stopped fighting; people started going to class.”

“You ever heard of ‘a look?'” one student asked while describing a “power” they claimed all dads have.

But it’s not just the firm stares and stern warnings — it’s also the dad jokes.

“They just make funny jokes like, ‘Oh, hey, your shoe is untied,’ but it’s really not untied,” a student commented.

“They hate it! They’re so embarrassed by it,” LaFitte said of the students.

And it’s that perfect mix of tough love and gentle ribbing that dads do so well that has helped transform this school.

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

Southwood High has seen zero fights since Dads on Duty showed up, and the phenomenal success of the program has inspired the group to work to spread their idea throughout the state of Louisiana and, with any luck, the country.

While Dads on Duty is an amazing success, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Their effectiveness proves two things we already know, but that certain members of society (leftists) seem to have forgotten: That kids need strong male* role models, and communities are much more effective at solving their problems than the government ever could be.

*Yes, they need strong female role models too, but statistically there is not a shortage of strong women in kids’ lives, impoverished or not.

The relationship between fatherless households and things like high school dropout rate, poverty, and incarceration is well-established. It’s not a stretch to infer that, at a school with 23 kids arrested for violence over three days, there’s probably a lot of kids from single-parent households. These two facts go together. There is no getting around that, especially when you look at the results that Dads on Duty have seen: 0 incidents since they showed up.

So when LaFitte says that dads were the best people for the job, he was right. Instead of overcomplicating a problem entities like, oh, I don’t know, the government is wont to do, these dads found a straightforward solution to what, at its core, is a simple problem.

More kids need “the look.” More kids need dad jokes. More kids need positivity, consistency, support, and kindness from grown men.

No matter how much taxpayer money the government throws at schools (and people in poverty to incentivize single parenthood, but that’s a topic for another day), results are not rosy. And that’s because not even the entire federal budget can buy fatherhood.

In order to improve the quality of life for people in our country, more kids need more stability and guidance, and that comes from the community, not the government. Michael LaFitte and his partners at Dads on Duty understood that, and they have helped their kids’ school pull a 180 to head in a better direction.

I’m hopeful that their example will inspire more of us to step up and help mold the communities we want for this next generation of kiddos.

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