Man tells middle school son to fight another boy, shoves teen, deputies say

Indian Trails Middle School parents confront man for pushing boy

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

PALM COAST, Fla. - A Palm Coast middle school parent encouraged his 14-year-old son to fight another student and then stepped into the fight, pushing the student off his son and threatening him, deputies with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office say.

Deputies responded to Indian Trails Middle School Monday for a fight between two boys. A witness told them that the fight was instigated by 34-year-old Anthony Gardiner, the father of one of the boys.

The victim told deputies, "He was walking to the park to catch his ride home when a grown man started yelling at him to fight his son." The teens dropped their bags and the fight began, according to the report.

The Sheriff's Office on Wednesday released videos students recorded of the fight.

While the two teens are fighting, Gardiner can be seen saying, "Get him, Dom. (Expletive) him in the face."

When the opposing teen was "getting the upper hand" during the fight the, 215-pound Gardiner stepped in and pushed him off his son, according to the arrest report. The victim told deputies that Gardiner made threats that he had a knife and he was a police officer.

In the video, Gardiner, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall, is then seen walking away from the fight, but a group of parents followed him, yelling at him as he walked away.

“He’s a child,” one woman yelled.

“Stop, you’re a parent,” another said.

“That’s a little boy, man. You can’t step in for your son,” a man said who confronted the father.

Gardiner yelled back at one woman saying, “You ain’t get the texts my son got."

Deputies said there was an ongoing dispute from March 9 between the two boys.

Gardiner faces charges for disorderly conduct and battery for touching or striking the student during the altercation without his permission.

“Most parents would do everything within their power to prevent any harm coming to their child,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “But this is a parent who actively encouraged violence between his son and another child to solve a problem. Then, took it another step further and began fighting one of the kids himself. This is not how you teach your children problem solving skills.”

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