HAYWARD -- Hayward Unified is encouraging fathers and male role models to take part in the Million Father March and escort children to class on Thursday, the first day of the new school year.

This is the third year Hayward schools have taken part in the national program. Last year, more than 800 adults participated in Hayward.

"Not only are our students excited, but fathers and the male figures in their lives are excited as well," Hayward school board President William McGee said in a release. "We issue this strong call to action for them to participate -- on the first day and every day -- in the educational lives of their students."

-- Rebecca Parr, Staff