CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Two Chesterfield brothers feel placing dads in area high schools will help keep threats out.
“When they go to school, there are a lot of children that are scared and that's a truth that we don't want to admit as parents,” Joshua Carter said. “But as parents, we need to admit that and we have identified that there is an issue, and something needs to be done.”
Jimmy and Joshua Carter feel “Dads on Duty” is the solution.
The Carters grew up in Chesterfield and have seven kids between them. They said they are prepared to do their part to keep their kids and others safe.
“It takes a village to raise a kid, right?” said Joshua Carter.
Jimmy Carter said he got the idea of “Dads of Duty” after watching dads volunteer at a Louisiana High school and successfully curb violence.
"My son, he's in ninth grade. He's gotten suspended a few times for vaping then the alleged rape happened a couple of months ago,” said Jimmy Carter. “Then at that point, I said you know this, this has got to stop.”
After watching the emotional interview of the mother of a 15-year-old female student who was allegedly abducted and raped in a Thomas Dale High School bathroom back in February, the brothers introduced “Dads on Duty” to a Chesterfield school board member and other CCPS school leaders.
"We're going to be in the hallways with you and we're going to be making sure that the bathrooms are clear and we're going to be making sure that you can come here and learn and not have to worry about being assaulted physically, sexually, or anything so that you can be successful and you know, just be a child," said Joshua.
The mission of “Dads on Duty” is to provide a positive male presence in schools that will assist teachers and administrators.
"We want to be that safe presence to know you can come to school, you're gonna get your education, and you're gonna go home the same way that you came in the building," said Jimmy.
Jimmy said he’s tired of regularly seeing videos of kids getting assaulted inside of school.
"It just seems every time there's something a bathroom is involved. Or, we have another video where there's, it's a corner hallway where there's probably obviously no teacher and there's a fight and this poor kid in the video looks like he wants nothing to do with the fight that is happening, but he is getting beat up and that shouldn't happen. You should be able to go to school and not worry about getting your face kicked," Jimmy added.
"I think that when we identify a problem as a community, if we don't come up with a solution, we are just aiding in the problem, right and we have identified that there was a problem and I applaud the board members for meeting with us in taking that meeting. They're very receptive to what we had to say," said Joshua.
"I would feel good about it. I think it'd be a positive influence for our young men, you know, to have a male mentor in their life,” said Chesterfield parent Ernie Ward.
"I think it's gonna be a hard thing to do, but I think it would be very valuable for them to be there and see what actually occurs in a school building," said Chesterfield parent Dawn Fallin.
The brothers are hopeful by fall Chesterfield high schools are filled with Dads on Duty.
"We are offering you a solution and we are asking that you not only contemplate and dwell on it, but to approve it, and to allow us into your school system so that we can help facilitate a safe learning environment,” said Joshua. “Then from the parents, the dads, the grandpas, the uncles, and the community, we're asking for your support too. Maybe your child hasn't been involved in a situation that has caused harm or violence to them, but somebody else's child has, and if we can help mitigate that and help lower the chances of somebody being harmed or hurt or assaulted at school, then I think we owe it to not only our children, but the children of the community to ensure that they can be safe at all times.”
“Chesterfield County Public Schools is always receptive to the idea of parent engagement in our schools. We do have a similar program at the elementary level, but we do not have anything currently in place like this at the high school level,” said Chesterfield spokesperson Shawn Smith. “We will need to determine exactly what the program would look like, how it would work, and put in place a defined process to ensure it can be implemented successfully. Anytime we have the opportunity to increase parental involvement, engage parents with students and create positive experiences and interactions for our CCPS students, it is a win-win situation,” Smith added.
The brothers said they were told by the school officials they met with that Meadowbrook, Matoaca, and Thomas Dale High Schools were already interested in the program.
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