LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Some parents in South Carolina are taking school safety into their own hands, by putting D.O.G.S. on school grounds.
Instead of armed staff, or metal detectors, as some South Carolina politicians have suggested, D.O.G.S. are volunteers known as the "Dads Of Great Students." That means unarmed fathers of students who volunteer by visiting and acting as special sets of extra eyes on school campus activity. Presence is the point.
A WATCH D.O.G.S. volunteer will do things like walk the perimeter of the building, test the locks on doors, report suspicious behavior, but also mentor the children. They spend time in classrooms helping with homework and volunteering in the gym.
Steven Murray is one of the fathers to volunteer. His son is a fourth grader at Pleasant Hill Elementary School in Lexington.
"You know, you're not a security officer, but your presence in this school I think is a deterrent I think for a lot of stuff that could possibly go on," Murray said.
Murray's visit will begin with a grounds check along the perimeter of campus. He scans the outside where portable classrooms are, looking for any unusual behavior and just keeping an eye out. Inside the schoolhouse, he does the same in classrooms. Murray will even check locks on doors.
As a parent, he's put at ease knowing there are other dads to volunteer and do these things even when he cannot. "It gives you that little feeling you know, that you know there's somebody else there. We do have great school resource officers here at this school. But you know, he's busy. So, having another dad in the school when I can't be here with him every day is a good feeling," he said.
WATCH D.O.G.S. is a national program that started to get fathers more involved in schools. Murray is working to get a group started next at Pleasant Hill Middle School.