LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, much of the public’s attention has turned to security in schools.
In Jefferson County, parents — and dads specifically — are taking an active role in the safety of their children.
On Friday Raul Christiansen and Drew Rummell both parents of students at Dennison Elementary were on duty at the school.
“We show up in the morning and we have the kids announce that their dad is here as a watchdog dad,” Christiansen said.
Watch D.O.G.S (or Dads of Great Students) is a national program where dads devote a day to being at their kid’s school.
“Just having an extra set of eyes, and to walk around make sure doors are locked, simple things that I think contribute to the safety of our students,” Rummell said.
The Dennison branch started more than five years ago shortly after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Keith Weiss is the group’s “Top Dog.” He says dads volunteer year-round but when school safety tops the headlines, interest peaks.
“I do think that in some ways it is a way to say ‘Hey, I’m doing something for those people who want to add a little more security to their school.’ It’s something they can do,” Weiss said.
Having that extra level of security is certainly a plus for students and parents, but Principal Pam Yoder says having a watchdog on campus can also take some pressure off educators.
“It takes a lot off of them; teachers want to be free to just concentrate on their classrooms and to teach,” she said.
For dads, that means lending a hand anyway possible, sometimes it’s cutting flash cards for students, other days they’re building shelves for a teacher.
Whatever the job, these dads do it all for their children.
“We all get something out of it I believe and it just keeps us coming back,” Weiss said.
While the program does specifically name dads, grandfathers, uncles and brothers can also sign up.
You can call your school directly to find out if they have the program set up, if not these dads say get one started on your own. You can find information on how to do that at dadsofgreatstudents.com.