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Local elementary school kicks off national Watch D.O.G.S. program

By Betty Nguyen, bnguyen@ktxs.com
Published On: Sep 18 2013 09:11:47 PM CDT
BROWNWOOD, Texas -

Brownwood's Northwest Elementary school is giving dads a chance to get involved in their children's lives through the nation-wide Watch D.O.G.S. program.

D.O.G.S. stands for "dads of great students". The program allows dads to volunteer and help monitor campus. Not only do they patrol hallways and keep an eye out for suspicious activity, but they also interact with students inside the classroom, helping them with activities such as reading, artwork or doing puzzles. Northwest Elementary Assistant Principal Jerry Jones said dads can also help supervise students during lunch hours. He said the purpose of the program is to give students more male role models.

"It's an awesome program," Jones said. "A lot of times Mom takes care of the school business. This gives Dad a chance to make a commitment and get involved in his children's lives and come up and help."

Brian Hall was a Watchdog on Wednesday. 

"I wanted to be around my daughter and I wanted to do my part and help out. I think this program helps a lot of kids that need a father figure that may not one," Hall said.

When asked how he would define fatherhood, the funeral home employee and church pastor said, "I think first of all, letting a child know how much you love them. Then trying to be a good example and teaching them that we all make mistakes. We don't dwell on the mistakes. We just learn and go on."  

Although he has an unpredictable work schedule, Hall said he volunteers as a Watchdog whenever he can. This is his first year doing so at Northwest Elementary, where his daughter Emma attends the second grade. Prior to this, he volunteered for two years at Woodlands Heights Elementary in Brownwood.

Jones said the program will continue all year long. Uncles and grandfathers are also welcome to participate as Watch D.O.G.S. The school has an open-door policy as to when Watch D.O.G.S can volunteer.

"We don't keep a calendar. Whatever length or time dads can stay with us, we accept them whenever they can come."

This is the second year Northwest Elementary has implemented the Watch D.O.G.S. program. Criminal background checks are required before dads can participate.