“Rad Dads” up security at Redondo school

A sampling of the Rad Dads roster for 2023-24 at Riviera Hall Lutheran School – Edward Morris, James Aldridge, Daryl Presley, Sam Hickerson, Mike Wu and Jay Gonzalez. Photo by Jessica Hickerson

by Garth Meyer

Wearing yellow vests, walkie-talkies at their sides and whistles around their necks, they watch arrivals every morning at the school entrance for an hour and 15 minutes.

“Rad Dads” is a new program to enhance security at Riviera Hall Lutheran School in Redondo Beach.

This month, fathers of eighth-graders stand watch. In October, fathers of seventh-graders step in, and November is for sixth grade.

The first week of school, grandfathers took the role – “Rad Granddads.” About 10 fathers make up a reserves list.

“They are happy to have an opportunity specifically for dads to do for one hour before they go to work,” said Whitney Morris, community services chair for Riviera Hall’s Parent Volunteer Organization.

If they use the whistle, they keep it, if not they turn it back into the office.

“Rad Dads” originated last April, in the aftermath of the Nashville school shooting, when a 28-year-old, former student walked into a Presbyterian elementary and shot and killed six people, including three children.

Morris then started talking to her husband, Edward, about school security. At the time, Riviera Hall was surveying parents about armed guards. Morris had a more immediate idea.

“‘Rad Dads’ are another set of eyes in the morning, when a lot of these instances have happened,” she said.

At the next Parent Volunteer Organization (PVO) meeting, she looked around the room.

“It was all moms, half of whom had full-time jobs,” Morris said. “There’s no excuse for a dad not to help.”

“I’ll be the first one,” Edward said. 

Whitney bought a couple of safety vests and whistles at Woods Ace Hardware, and wore one of the vests to the next PVO meeting. 

“Can the moms do it instead?” asked a PVO member. 

“I said no,” said Morris. “… So the fathers can be involved in their children’s school. We were missing out on 50 percent of our parental volunteers. Hello?”


Riviera Hall Lutheran Parent Volunteer Organization members, from left to right, Whitney Morris, community service; Brittny Burford, president; and Jessica Hickerson, communications. Photo by Sam Hickerson


Some said their husband’s work precluded them from doing it.

“It’s not about who’s more important at their job, it’s about character,” Morris said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, she and PVO president Brittny Burford, and communications chair Jessica Hickerson went to Principal Kelly McCabe and pitched the idea.

“Start Monday,” said McCabe. 

The next morning, a Saturday, PVO member Lindsey Aldridge designed a “Rad Dads” logo and hand-screen printed it on a vest. That night, May 19, was the annual Riviera Hall father-daughter dance and Edward – Morris’ husband – picked up the vest on the way to the dance.

 He put it on over his suit, walked into the school event hall, blew the whistle and signed up 15 men.

“By that Tuesday, we had the whole rest of the school year booked,” Whitney said. 

She would like more schools to do it. 

“I want this to go nationwide,” she said. “I don’t expect dads to do the class party, or the book fair. It was a massive, untapped market of volunteers.”



Three years ago, Riviera Hall moved its school office, added a vehicular gate and three pedestrian gates to improve security, allowing the school to “close” its campus during the day. No buses serve the students.

“We had concerns, obviously, for safety in school these days, and reevaluated our measures…” said Principal McCabe. “‘Rad Dads’ would become one more layer of protection.”

On any given day, the father on duty watches the school’s drive-through entryway until it closes, then moves to a different spot for general observation. 

“If we get enough interest in the program, the momentum will continue,” McCabe said. “Which it has.”

“Rad Dads” ran for the last four weeks of the 2022-23 year at the K-8 school, which has an average of 27 students per grade. 

“I think it’s awesome. It’s about the community,” said father Sam Hickerson. “It’s a great way to start the day.”

He did it once last year, and again this week, on Monday. 

“You don’t see a lot of dads on campus,” he said.

Hickerson’s wife, Jessica, went to school at Riviera Hall, and her father volunteered as a Rad (Grand) Dad in the first week of 2023-24; he dressed in a “Woody” costume from “Toy Story.”



On Monday, since an eighth-grade father could not make it, Sam Hickerson filled in from the reserves list.

“It’s such a cool experience. Put me on the bench, I’ll be there whenever you need me,” he said.

Once his shift is over, Hickerson goes to his job as a marketing director for Murad Skincare, in El Segundo.

“It levels you out for the day,” he said. “It just trickles out to everything you do. It’s rewarding. It’s very rewarding.”

Another “Rad Dad,” Art Amloyan, did it twice last year, then went out with a foot injury from his job as a Postal Carrier in Palos Verdes. 

“The kids love it, they love the interaction, the parents also love seeing us there, making sure there’s no funny business going on,” he said. 

Amloyan’s wife’s aunt is a retired Riviera Hall teacher. 

Her other aunt was on Amloyan’s postal route and one day said she had a niece she wanted him to meet. In 2014, the two were married, and now their two children go to Riviera Hall.

“If you see someone looking after the school, you’ll think twice. If a crazy person is determined to do something, they can find a way, but at least this way, it’s a little bit of a deterrent,” Amloyan said. “The school is locked down once we leave.” ER


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