Bay Area dads participate in Million Father March walk-to-school program

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- Today, some Bay Area students got a special escort to school, some were a little embarrassed by dad, but, school administrators say it's good for the students.

Walking in to middle school on the first day is already loaded with emotion. Having dear old dad walk you in can just add to an already self-conscious morning.

"It's a little bit of embarrassment. I said 'I can walk myself in,' but they said he should walk me in. So here we are," 8th grade student Elijah Stephen said.

The dads were actually encouraged to be at Winton Middle School today. The Hayward Unified School District invited them to take their kids to school as part of a national program called Million Father March.

"They did some research and it showed the more father's are involved in their child's educational life, the better a child does academically," School Board Trustee William McGee said.

The program was just the push some dads needed.

"My wife came back from registration and showed me the forms and that they were doing this, and this is kind of new for me this year. It's a first for me, I am enjoying it, it's kind of nice," father Jabot Dixon said.

The program has motivated some dads to take their support beyond the first day.

"One of the schools created a program called DOGS, or Dads Of Great Students, so that group meets every month and they do things around the school, they help out. It was spurned from Million Father March so these are things we want to come out of this program," McGee said.

Even though students may have said they didn't need their fathers today, dads knew deep down they made a difference.

"It's a little embarrassing but I can get over it," said Stephen.

For dads who couldn't be at school today, educators say don't worry, there's still plenty to do during the year, like checking your child's homework and staying in touch with the teachers.
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