Pastor Troy Martinez, fourth from right, poses for a portrait with a group of CCSD fathers afte ...

CCSD violence highlights the crisis of fatherless | VICTOR JOECKS

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There’d be no need for “Dads in Schools” if there were more fathers in homes.

On Wednesday, police arrested three students — at different schools — for assaulting teachers. This provided more evidence that student violence is out of control in the Clark County School District.

Things have been so bad that Superintendent Jesus Jara recently implemented a new zero-tolerance policy. Students will now receive a recommended expulsion for all major disciplinary infractions. That’s a long overdue reversal of his previous push to replace punitive disciplinary measures with “restorative justice.”

That’s not all. A new group called Dads in Schools will be helping keep the peace. This is just what it sounds like. Men are going to school campuses to prevent violence through their presence and by building relationships.

“A broken family is one of the biggest reasons why our children are committing crimes,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a Dads in Schools video. “Fatherless — no father at home is a huge deal. It has a huge impact on a child’s life.”

He’s right. Just how right he is may shock you.

A third of white children living with a single parent live in poverty. That number plummets to 5 percent for white children residing with two parents in a first marriage.There’s a similar pattern for Black children. Almost half, 46 percent, of Black children living with a single parent are in poverty. For Black children with two married parents, that drops to 13 percent. This data is from the Institute for Family Studies.

There’s a similar trend for incarceration. Both white and Black young men raised by a single parent are roughly twice as likely to have been to prison as those who came from a home with two biological parents. Coming from an intact home also approximately doubles a young person’s chance of graduating from college.

The data also shows a Black child growing up with two parents is 60 percent less likely to live in poverty than a white child raised by a single parent. That Black child is also less likely to be incarcerated and more likely to graduate from college than a white child with a single parent.

Dads clearly make a huge difference.

That’s not a knock on single moms, who have one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s often not of their own choosing either. But fathers and mothers are different because men and women are different.

Research shows fathers play and communicate differently than mothers do. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that engaged fathers improved their kids’ ability to think, reduced behavior problems in boys and led to fewer mental problems in girls.

Having both parents around matters. The government shouldn’t be forcing people to get married, of course. It would benefit a lot of kids, however, if society celebrated the unique contributions only a father can provide.

Don’t tell teen boys they’re founts of toxic masculinity, either. Teach them how to use their energy, strength, drive to succeed and toughness for important purposes. That includes one day being a father and providing for their family.

The importance of fathers should also influence public policy. A new paper from the American Enterprise Institute finds that the decadeslong decline in the share of children living with married parents stopped in the “early 1990s among the most disadvantage children.” Author Scott Winship posits that welfare reforms may have been responsible for the reversal.

Bravo to Dads in Schools — and dads in homes. Kids need more of both.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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