Dads get involved in school through Watch D.O.G.S. Program
Idaho Falls School District 91 has a new safety program at one of its elementary schools. It's called Watch D.O.G.S. "Dad's of Great Students."
Watch D.O.G.S. is a national program that's gotten a lot of parental support.
After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, parents here at A.H. Bush Elementary in Idaho Falls wanted to do more to help protect their kids.
The principal, Dr. Sarah Sanders, had heard of the Watch D.O.G.S. program and thought it would be the perfect fit.
She says since it's usually moms who volunteer at school, Watch D.O.G.S. gives dads a specific role in schools.
There's a new face to join the lunchtime conversation at A.H. Bush Elementary school. It's not a new student, but a Watch D.O.G.S.
Wearing the Watch D.O.G.S T-shirt, dads get to volunteer at their child's school through the national Watch D.O.G.S. program.
"He just kind of walks around makes sure everything is doing OK. He goes to different classrooms and helps out a bit and he can eat with his kids if he wants," said third grader Orvis Brown.
"No they're not armed. They're not security guards at all. You think of dads as security guards, but they just melt when they get here. It's a visibility, it's a presence," said Sanders.
Sanders brought up the Watch D.O.G.S. program to parents at a pizza party, but didn't think the program would get so much support.
"I knew this was something that they'd get excited about, but I had no idea that we'd have 200 dads show up at our pizza party," said Sanders.
Today is Watch D.O.G.S. Blake Dilworth's first day at school.
"Our company is always asking us to get involved in our community and do some volunteer work and so I thought there's my opportunity," said Dilworth.
Strolling through the cafeteria during a busy lunch hour, he tells students a little bit about himself and the students eagerly chat with their new friend.
"And it kind of feels a little bit safer, and it's a little bit more fun at recess and stuff," said Brown.
Sanders says they have dads in the school a couple of times a week. The dads who are watch dogs do have to pass a background check before they start volunteering.
The school says they got such a good response from dads who want to be Watch D.O.G.S. they are now booked through the end of the school year.
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