Cleveland County Dads become "heroes in the hallways"
Dozens of dads gathered at the Nancy O'Brian Center at Norman North High School Tuesday evening to learn how they can be "heroes in the hallways" in Norman and Moore Public Schools.
"Dads are needed more now than ever," said Chad Vice, a volunteer with Norman Public Schools' Watch Dads of Great Students (D.O.G.S.) program.
The program encourages fathers to take an active role in their child's education. Vice will occasionally take the day off work to spend a full day volunteering at Truman Elementary, where his two daughters go to school.
"It's just being an extra set of eyes and ears in the schools to help provide that level of safety that our kids need today," said Vice.
After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Vice says programs like Watch D.O.G.S. are more important than ever. He also says with Oklahoma's high incarceration rate, it's important for children to have strong male role models.
"It is time for dads to get engaged and be there for their child," said Vice.
Norman Public Schools has 200 fathers enrolled in Watch D.O.G.S. on five campuses. District officials want to implement the program districtwide.
Eric Snow, National Director of Watch D.O.G.S. says the program has been instrumental in bullying prevention.
"We hear educators say that when you take an adult male and put them in the hallway, put them in the classroom, put them in the playground, at least for that day those incidents stop completely," said Snow.
Vice says letting a children, who could be potential bullies, know someone cares for them makes a difference.
"They want to be heard, they want to be loved, they want to be noticed," said Vice.
He says the best part about being a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer is watching children grow into good human beings.
"It's an eye-opening experience to know that, 'you are doing something right dad,'" he said, "and it's a rewarding feeling."