A committee of parents and administrators met Monday morning at Anderson High School to discuss bringing “security dads” — a program that allows parents to patrol school hallways and mentor students — to city schools.

Comprised of parents Tamie Tatum, Bob and Janet Clausen, Assistant Principal Larry Quarles of Anderson High School, and Assistant Principal Albert Young of Highland High School, the Security Dads Steering Committee discussed what it would take to implement the program here.

“Our dads are going to be able to notice hot spots, and hot spots in the future, and we’re going to be there,” said Bob Clausen, referring to areas at the schools that are known for trouble.

The program — known in Anderson as “ACS Dads” — will use positive male (and female) role models, not necessarily fathers, to interact with students, whether they need help with homework or avoiding trouble.

“A lot of the times, the kids are missing a male role model in their life,” said Tatum.

The committee also discussed recruitment — they say that they have a lot of people who have “expressed interest.” All potential participating parents, however, must undergo a background check and training. The Clausens say they will ramp up recruiting at local churches in the near future.

The committee discussed what uniforms the ACS Dads would use. So far, said Bob Clausen, the dads will wear a red polo shirt, and possibly a baseball cap.

The program is still in a nascent stage, and more meetings have been planned for the future. The ACS Dads program will be rolled-out for the 2007-08 school year.

The original security dads program was developed 17 years ago at Arlington High School in Indianapolis by Tony and Linda Wallace. The Wallaces wanted to stay in Indianapolis, but Arlington was so bad that it was facing a shut-down. Wallace began patroling the halls with other dads, and the school remains open today.

Tony Wallace will personally train the ACS Dads for 10 days. The ACS Dads must also go through an application process and a background check. The dads will have to adhere to the “security dad guidelines,” including no drinking alcohol, no smoking, never talking down to a student and building a rapport with students, among others.

“When there are (ACS Dads) around, you’ll get kids who are really working to achieve,” promised Janet Clausen.

ACS Dads will meet again June 26 at 10 a.m. at Anderson High School. For more information about joining the program, contact Bob or Janet Clausen at (765) 644-1442.

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