Columbia public schools are implementing programs that bring more male role models into the school environment. The new program is called the Males On Duty Squad, or MOD Squad. These male volunteers serve as crossing guards and play with students during recess and lunch. Shepard Elementary Principal Jacquie Ward said that the largely female faculty introduced the program to fulfill students’ need for positive male role models.
“They do add that other component that females aren’t able to. That father figure role is huge and when they go out at recess they’re helping keep the kids safe but they’re also interacting in a playful way," Ward said.
Ward said many students who attend Shepard do not have father figures in their lives. She said the male volunteers have developed relationships with students and encouraged them to take on different leadership roles.