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Parents on patrol at local high school

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

For about a month now Tony Bostick and other concerned citizens have patrolled the grounds of Rutherford High School.

“We’re here primarily from 11 to 2,” said Bostick. “Some days we’re here 8 to 9:30 depending on the needs of the school.

Their goal is to stop a spike in fights at the school.

“It really boiled to the top when we had this last incident where so many of the kids were involved in a fight that just got totally out of hand,” said Bostick.

That’s when he and several others knew it was time to take action.

“We put together the PEACE initiative,” said Bostick. “And then another local individual got involved and helped facilitate bringing everybody together so it was a team effort to make this happen. Now we’re running it every day of the week Monday through Friday.”

The student PEACE initiative stands for pause, exhale, accept, choose and engage.

Pause before you make a rash decision because if you just do something right off the cuff it’s more likely you’re going to get in trouble with bad consequences,” explained Bostick.

“Exhale, breathe out, let it go. Accept the fact that you’re having those feelings and something has triggered those feelings in you. And then you have to choose. You have to choose the way you’re gonna react. And then engage. You have to engage in a new thought process, a new behavior pattern.”

Bostick has seen the video of dads on duty, an initiative from Shreveport, Louisiana to make schools safer, but says he and other locals were already doing something similar.

“We saw the need in the community for the community to get involved to help the staff and even the students here at Rutherford,” said Bostick.

He described himself as a concerned citizen and a dad.

“I have one daughter here at Rutherford but I got 1,458 kids here that are my kids.”

He said the other volunteers feel the same.

“You get to know these kids really quickly,” said Bostick. “You’ll know the ones that are really trying, you’ll know the ones that’s experiencing difficulties. These issues we’re seeing in school 98% of them start in the neighborhood because of all the lack of things for the kids to actively engage in.

Bostick said the parental presence at school is making a difference.

“I’ve seen a drastic change in them that where they weren’t speaking before, now they’re saying good morning sir good morning ma’am,” said Bostick. “So I think we’re reaching them, we’re touching them, we’re letting them know we’re here.”

Bostick hopes other local schools will also bring in parent patrols and he’s looking for volunteers.

“If we could get 500 people so that we could expand it to every school we would love that, that would be absolutely ideal,” said Bostick.

But for now, he has 1,400 kids to guide and he hopes to steer them down the right path.

The group also helps boost self-esteem for the students by bringing in stylists and barbers once a month. They also hold a Monday morning prayer. Bostick said it’s to seek God’s covering for the students and staff of all Bay District Schools.

To get in touch with Tony Bostick you can call 860-625-6126, email him at tony_bostick@yahoo.com, and you can always find him on Facebook.

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