The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

October 16, 2013

Westwood Primary School to begin Watch DOGS program

(Continued)

PALESTINE —

“We will be walking around the campus, just being an extra set of eyes making sure everyone is safe,” Morris said.

The men also eat with the students at lunch, spending time with them at recess and some time in the classroom as well.

“It is a way to get dads and other father-figures involved in schools again,” Wardell said, “and to be a presence to their children and to students who may not have that presence at home.”

Wardell, who has a background in law enforcement, has seen first-hand the results of life with no male influence.

“I have seen prisons full of those guys,” he said. “And there are those 'latch-key kids' who are forced to grow up alone.

“Today, with school shootings, bully and other things like that happening in schools, it is good to have volunteers on campuses who want to change that.”

Watch DOGS are required to follow strict guidelines while on campus.

“You aren't allowed to intervene in an incident, but are to notify the proper authorities and they will take the necessary actions,” Morris said. “Each Watch DOGS applicant will have to undergo a criminal background check, as required by WISD and the program.

“The students will be safe. That is something we take very seriously.”

Each participant is encouraged to spend an entire day on the campus, with the possibility of a half-day schedule being considered by organizers.

WPS principal Sonya Brown is very supportive of bringing the Watch DOGS program to the campus.

“I am excited about it and I think it will be a good thing for our students,” she said. “Parents are seeing the need to be more involved in schools. I am ready to get it going.”

Any male with a desire to be a role model — father, grandfather, uncles and brothers, etc. — can participate in the Watch DOGS program.

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