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Camden eyes Watch D.O.G.S program

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CAMDEN -- Camden school officials are taking a close look at a volunteer program that mobilizes men as role models and “watch dogs” in schools.

The Camden County Board of Education heard a presentation on the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program from Ina Lane, director of secondary education, at the board’s June 14 meeting.

Lane explained that Watch D.O.G.S. places men as volunteers in schools to be positive male role models for students, reduce bullying, and serve as an extra set of eyes and ears.

The program encourages participation by fathers of students but also is open to other men such as uncles, grandfathers or men from the community.

Lane said the program provides fathers and other male role models a chance to show students how important education is and also lets dads see what day-to-day life in school is like.

During discussion at the school board meeting, Camden County Schools Superintendent Joe Ferrell noted Watch D.O.G.S. is a program that Camden County Commissioner Ross Munro has mentioned in discussions about improving school safety.

Board member Sissy Aydlett asked whether all volunteers would go through a background check. Lane said they would.

Aydlett also asked if the school district would pay for the background check and Lane said her understanding is that the school district would cover the cost of a background check for volunteers.

Lane said the program would be another piece of the overall commitment to safety in the Camden County Schools.

The program requires the purchase of a $500 start-up kit for each participating school. Lane said Watch D.O.G.S. is most common in elementary and middle schools but explained that high schools are also eligible to participate.

The presentation at the board meeting was for information purposes. The board will consider the matter for possible action at a later meeting.

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