In just three days at Louisiana’s Southwood High School, police arrested 23 students. Then, more officers showed up on campus, making school even harder to endure. And between the violent school-to-prison pipeline and a lack of conflict resolution for fights, something had to give. So, someone new stepped in.
Now dubbed “Dads on Duty,” a group of 40 fathers began taking shifts practicing crisis intervention on campus, ranging from mentorship to greeting kids with “corny jokes” in the morning. But did it work?
There have been zero fights since! Even their principal agreed that students fared better amongst members of their own community instead of cops. Her observation aligns with years of research demonstrating that police in schools disproportionately brutalize Black students, AND don’t make them feel any safer.
“We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” said Dads on Duty founder Michael LaFitte. And although you actually don’t have to be a man, or a father, to do this work, these dads proved a huge point.
No one needs to be arrested, brutalized, or dehumanized to stop violence in schools! And they didn’t have to have “criminal justice experience” to help enrich and protect their community. We can ALL see where gaps in our own communities are, and help to fill them with care and compassion together.