Derrick Griffin is a 35-year-old Navy veteran who spent 11 years in the military, including deployments to Iraq in some of its most violent years. He was there in 2004, was deployed in Fallujah, one of the war’s deadliest cities, and is the recipient of a Purple Heart. He was, as students are reminded on numerous occasions recognizing veterans throughout the year, among the men and women who volunteered to defend the nation’s liberties.
Two weeks ago Griffin discovered the limits of those liberties at Matanzas High School.
Griffin, the parent of two children at Old Kings Elementary with a third on the way, is a paraprofessional working with exceptional student education students at Indian Trails Middle School. He’s also a track coach, assisting ITMS’s Katie Hoover in training some 50 middle school students through the sheriff’s Police Athletic League, or PAL. The team trains at the track at Matanzas High School.
Two weeks ago at the track, two Matanzas track coaches–Tim Kane and Jeremy Schaefer–booted Griffin off the track. The reason: he was wearing a Flagler Palm Coast High School shirt.
Kane and Schaefer didn’t speak to him. Not that time. They spoke to Hoover, dragging her back in from a run she’d been on with her students. They told her Griffin could either change shirts or get off the property, though there’s no district policy, no regulation, no rule, controlling what school shirts PAL coaches or anyone using school facilities and not connected to the school may or may not wear.
“That is not in school board policy,” Earl Johnson, a senior district administrator, said, “that’s not in our dress code that you can’t wear a different school’s shirt on a property. That’s not in policy.”
Griffin actually wore a Matanzas shirt once a week at the track anyway, as part of his “rotation” of four shirts that included Matanzas’s, FPC’s, a state track shirt and a fourth shirt.
That day two weeks ago Griffin didn’t want to make a scene. Nor did he think, as a grown man and a professional coach training students in a successful after-school program that had nothing to do with Matanzas, that he should be told what to wear by people who are not his employer, not his colleagues, and not his drill sergeant (the last person to tell him what to wear).
“Because of her relationships with the school and all of that, I didn’t want to mess up her future relationship with that school,” Griffin said, “so I complied and said I’m not taking off my shirt, because this is wrong, but I will leave. I didn’t even get to finish my practice with my sprinters. I had to leave mid-practice, and I went home. I was upset.” Hoover was not left alone: Esteban Soto, another assistant, was with her coaching the students.
Two days earlier, the school superintendent had spoken of school unity as represented by a fallen student.
Griffin called Ryan Andrews, the athletic director at Indian Trails and an assistant principal, and reported the issue. “He was like, are you serious? He was like, that’s ridiculous,” Griffin said. “That should not be happening.”
Andrews confirmed speaking with Griffin. “I support our coaches,” he said. “Our coach is a fantastic guy, he served in the military and I think we definitely have to come to some sort of conclusion here.” He said he wants “everybody to be treated fairly.” Griffin says he also left a brief phone message through a school secretary for Matanzas Principal Jeff Reaves, telling him it “involved a situation that happened at the track.” Reaves says he never got the message.
Griffin’s conduct was never questioned, not even by Matanzas coaches or the principal: he never said anything untoward, never acted without professionalism. Hoover speaks of Griffin in glowing terms. “He has always conducted himself with the utmost professionalism and respect, he’s been a role model for our athletes,” Hoover said. “He’s been an amazing coach. I have been proud to coach with him for the first season that we coached at Indian Trails.”
Griffin was booted off the field the last week of the season. Just two days earlier, Superintendent Jim Tager had stood before television cameras and other reporters and spoken of Matanzas and FPC being unified by Curtis Gray, the 18-year-old student shot and killed on April 13 who’d been a student at both schools and had this year transferred to run track at FPC. Tager described him as “a peacekeeper to keep groups together.” Tager, coaches from both schools and Matanzas’s principal, Jeff Reaves, repeated the unity theme at a memorial for Gray last Sunday. By then, Reaves knew all about the Griffin incident–and justified it.
It was not the first time the FPC shirt had been an issue at the school. But it had not been a recurring issue, either: there’d been a similar incident in January. Then nothing until the end of the season, according to Griffin.
Schaefer did not respond to an inquiry about the incident. Kane deferred it to Zach Rigney, the athletic director, who spoke to a reporter on a conference call with Matanzas Principal Jeff Reaves with him, the day after Reaves, when first questioned about it, said he was not aware of the issue, and himself deferred inquiries to Rigney.
By then, Reaves and Rigney provided a somewhat different account than that provided by Griffin, Hoover and Esteban Soto, another assistant coach in the PAL track program. Reaves and Rigney did not dispute that Griffin was asked to change his shirt. But they claim that it was Hoover who gave him the choice to change or leave campus.
That’s not what Hoover said happened, nor what Soto or Griffin say happened, and it suggests, incredulously, that Hoover on her own, in the last week of practice, would have interrupted her own run with students, returned to Griffin, and told him to either change or leave, though she has nothing but praise for her assistant coach.
“Two head coaches approached me and asked me to convey that to him,” Hoover said. “They said that he’d been given a shirt by the Matanzas athletic director and was expected to wear Matanzas clothing when on on Matanzas’ campus, and not FPC clothing.” Hoover added: “That was the first time that I had heard of a clothing requirement in an after-school program beyond just wearing appropriate clothing for the weather.”
Reaves and Rigney say Griffin was spoken to “five or six times” about the shirt during the season. They did not say by whom, other than Rigney saying he was among those who spoke to him.
From Requests to Demands
The first encounter about the shirt took place the first week of the season, in January, when Griffin says Rigney presented him with a shirt and asked him to wear it. “That happened the very first week. It was tense, but it was kind of–you didn’t know if it was jokingly or, you know,” Griffin said.
“I just asked him if he was working for PAL or Indian Trails,” Rigney said, “he said he was, I said hey man, I’ve got a Matanzas shirt, could you wear that around my kids.”
Griffin took the shirt and said he’d be happy to wear it along with his other shirts. “I threw it into the rotation,” Griffin said, “and throughout that whole season nobody ever said anything to me about my shirt. I still wore my shirt, I just threw the Matanzas in there.”
The week before the end of the season, Kyle Johnson, whom Griffin took as another Matanzas track coach, “was walking toward me kind of aggressively, he was holding a Matanzas shirt,” Griffin said, “while I was in the middle of my track practice in the middle of the field, and he was like, you need to take off that shirt. I looked at him, I was just like, take off my shirt? I’m not taking off anything. So he was just like, no, you need to take it off. I’m an adult, I’m a grown man. Nobody’s going to tell me what I need to do and how I need to do it. He’s holding this shirt like you need to take this shirt off and put this shirt on. The tone changed, because at that moment, this is totally disrespectful. One, it’s in front of my track runners, so if you want to handle anything professionally, we could have addressed this off line. But he was trying to make a statement.” (Johnson did not respond to a message relayed to him through Rigney.)
Griffin refused to change. “I said I don’t run for your school, I don’t work for your school, I don’t work for any high school, I work for Indian Trails, I’m getting paid through PAL so we can wear what we want,” he told Johnson. “He was like, I’m going to make sure you don’t wear that shirt anymore here. He said the athletic director told you and all the other coaches told you that that’s disrespectful to this school. I told him you guys are looking at it the wrong way, because what if this was one of my track runners wearing this FPC shirt because their brother or sister, their mother went to FPC? Would you come at them the same way? He walked off.”
“I don’t think it should have been handled in front of the kids the way it was because the kids were upset,” Soto, who witnessed the incident, said. “We had our kids in a huddle when he walked up and started talking like that right in front of the kids.” Soto said he could see both points of view, but could not understand the way it was handled. “We’re there for the kids, I’m 100 percent for the kids.”
“Too Childish For Me To Comment On”
The next day, Griffin said he talked to the head coach of the track team on the field and complained about Johnson’s manner and tone. The head coach, who was never confrontational in that conversation, apologized, he said. “He said [Johnson] was out of line and he won’t do that again,” Griffin said. “He was like, you have to understand how this shirt is looked at at this school. This is Matanzas. I said how you guys are looking at it is totally different from how it should be. I said we’re in Palm Coast, one, I said two, I can understand your argument if I worked for Matanzas and you’re like, hey, you work here, you teach here, you coach here, what are you doing with an FPC shirt on? I can totally get that. But I work at a middle school, I coach at a middle school, and I’ve worn both these shirts. You never say anything when I wear the Matanzas shirt, but it’s a problem if I wear the FPC shirt.” He asked about any policy about that. “That’s coming from the AD,” the head coach said, referring to Rigney, the athletic director. “The AD said no FPC gear is allowed here. That’s what the head coach told me that the AD said. At that point I knew this was all BS.”
Steve DeAugustino, the athletic director at FPC, was nonplussed by the situation. “If I’m on an FPC team and I’m playing for FPC I would expect that they would wear FPC attire,” DeAugustino said, “but PAL is not restricted to serve one school or the other. I personally would be grateful the man was volunteering his time to work with kids in whatever sport.” (PAL coaches aren’t volunteers, but almost: they’re paid $30 per season per student participant. In Griffin’s case, he agreed to split even that fee in half so there could be another assistant coach, reducing his stipend to, at most, around $750 for the season.)
DeAugustino said at most the wearing of the FPC shirt on Matanzas grounds could be seen as “in poor taste,” but given the aim of the PAL program, I don’t know why that would be an issue,” he said. “Personally I wouldn’t make anybody–hearing this it’s almost too childish for me to comment on. You’re helping kids wanting to run track, OK?”
DeAugustino said the rivalry between the two schools has been healthy, especially between the students, who always display good sportsmanship–take pictures together after games, hang out. “They all know each other,” he said. But, he stressed, as Earl Johnson, the district administrator did, that beyond the standard dress code, which applies during the school day, there is no district policy controlling what may be worn in afterschool activities.
Fear of “Recruitment”
But Rigney and Reeves said they were not going by Flagler County School Board policy. They said they were going by state policies–policies 36 and 37 in the Florida High School Athletic Association rulebook. When interviewed last week, they said the reason Griffin had to change was because they were trying to avoid the appearance that Griffin’s shirt could send the message that he was “recruiting” for FPC–not recruiting the students on the Indian Trails team, with whom he worked exclusively, but recruiting Matanzas High School track students across the field, with whom he had zero interaction, but who could theoretically see his shirt.
“I didn’t want to have the appearance or the perception that he was recruiting for FPC.”
“Wearing an FPC shirt to Matanzas with our athletes, it’s kind of a gray area, I didn’t want to have the appearance or the perception that he was recruiting for FPC,” Rigney said.
“Not that he was, but you want to avoid the appearance,” Reeves said.
In a 30-minute interview, Griffin had never mentioned anything about the issue arising from fears of recruiting. He never mentioned the word. Never said anyone from Matanzas–not the coaches, not the athletic director, not the principal–ever spoke to him about their concern with recruiting, appearance or otherwise. Nor did Hoover. Nor did Soto.
That’s because neither Rigney nor anyone else ever told Griffin that that was the reason they wanted him to change his shirt. Rigney says Griffin was asked “multiple times” to change his shirt. But Rigney himself says he was never told why.
“No I didn’t have a conversation as to why,” Rigney said. “I didn’t have that conversation with him no. I did not.”
Why not? Rigney said he didn’t have an answer. Nor did Reaves.
“I can’t answer that question to you,” Reaves said, “but you have multiple conversations with someone and asking them to change when you’re on their campus, and choosing not to, we can’t have the appearance of recruitment. And again, I’m not saying that he was. But we wouldn’t want to have that appearance.”
Nor could they answer why this was an issue since Griffin wasn’t even an FPC coach or affiliated with FPC in any way regardless–only that he had previously worked there as an assistant track coach (where he was admired and beloved by students, according to those who knew him there). It’s not as if they didn’t know that he wasn’t with FPC: Rigney says he’d asked Griffin where he worked in their one and only conversation.
The appearance of the Reeves and Rigney account is that recruitment was never the issue, since Griffin was never once told about it, but that it became the only rationale Reaves and Rigney worked out and could offer by way of explanation once faced with questions about how Griffin was treated, a day after Reaves was first asked about it, and hours after Rigney was asked for any communications, electronic or written, pertaining to his decision: there were none, the district’s search of records revealed, and the district’s attorney said.
And the policy in question goes nowhere near justifying Rigney’s claims or fears of recruitment. It addresses “improper contact” and lists prohibitions, but in every case the contact is wilful and explicit through direct written communications to specific students, “Visiting or entertaining the student or any member of his/her family,” making direct contact with the student or family to pressure a choice, distributing promotional materials that ranks a school as better than another, and so on. There’s no such thing as even the “appearance” of recruitment through telegraphing the benefits of another school by the mere wearing of a shirt, even on the same field with other students–though Griffin was only incidentally in the presence of Matanzas students, and not in contact with them. It was the same situation as if Griffin were coaching on one field at the Indian Trails Sports Complex, wearing an FPC shirt, and Matanzas students were training on an adjacent field: no “recruitment” could be inferred.
There was never an explanation to Griffin, nor an apology, of course. “Could we have probably explained it to him along the way, I wouldn’t disagree,” Reeves said, “but I’m not going to knowingly violate a sanctioned sport requirement.” Except that, knowingly, there was no violation, nor a discussion of a violation or the appearance of a violation.
The PAL track season is over. Several students in the program qualified for state competition. As for next year, it’s not clear what Matanzas’s approach will be if the same situation recurs, though Reaves isn’t leaving much doubt: “When PAL and whoever use our facilities, we’ll have conversations with them up front to make sure there’s no issues in the future,” he said.
Reaves said the matter has nothing to do with the rivalry between the two schools, and scoffed at the possibility that the incident may have been a reflexion of an inferiority complex, given FPC’s successes. “We’re pretty close head to head in all our athletics. We’re pretty competitive and we’ll remain so,” Reaves said. “There is no inferiority complex.” He described competition as healthy in a “culture that’s rich and spirited for competition.”
Griffin sees it differently. The shirt incident to him “sends almost a bullying atmosphere to students,” he said, referring to his own athletes who witnessed one of the encounters and who, he said, may now have a bad taste about Matanzas.
“It wouldn’t be a rivalry if Matanzas happened to be on the winning end of the stick,” Griffin continued. “I believe if it was reversed, if Matanzas was a dominant track team and I wore FPC shirt, would they be telling me to take it off? No. They’d probably be like, look at him in that shirt, like why are you wearing that shirt, because they suck, not like, get him out of here, because when you’re winning you don’t care about the little things that go on around you. I think their rivalry is not conducive to promoting what’s very important in this town, and that should be education and good sportsmanship, and that day good sportsmanship was not shown.”
What a chicken shit call by Matanzas High. I’d be ashamed of that school if I were a student or parent. It’s hard to believe teachers like this are teaching the future adults of Palm Coast.
Long Time Resident says
Are these adults for real? Aren’t there enough problems in the world to worry about instead of worrying about a shirt?
The original woody says
What a joke!! Kids shooting up schools and this is what were worried about,really?Yea Griffin is a real threat.
Old Guy says
What a bunch of Bovine Scatology. The PAL Coach did the right thing by not causing a scene in front of the students. The School District Leadership needs to apologize to him and educate their coaches on district policy (or lack thereof). If FCS wants to dictate policy in this area then they need to formulate one and put it out so all persons are aware of this in the future. Though I’m sure they have more important things to concern themselves with than such a policy.
What a long winded story about nothing. The two Matanzas coaches are in the wrong and are trying to cover their bad and mornic behavior with a silly excuse. End of story.i
So, seriously it’s not enough that it’s red states blue states, crips and bloods and everything in-between? Kind of like the old 80’s movie the Warriors “You can’t walk through our turf unless you take off the colors”
Props to Mr. Roberson for not going GI Joe on these people. Poor example by the staff for splitting hairs, especially when their school name means Massacre. Get a grip or don’t let the opposing teams wear their team colors either.
NEVER ending Drama in jerkwater USA
Are you kidding? says
Yet another reason I’m ashamed to live in Palm Coast. Disgusting.
Dan Newberry says
Listen up buttercups. You work for the school district. You work for the tax payer. There isn’t a your school and my school.
The fact that ITMS is practicing at MHS IS a recruiting violation. This should not be allowed to begin with. Does BTMS practice at FPC? NO!!!!
Just like Congress. You get grown ups acting like children. Shame on them.
Chris Conklin says
This is the reason why matanzas will always be the little brother to fpc. Grow up and be role models for not just the athletes but all students. 2nd grade shit.” Hes looking at me”. You just lost another coach who spends more then he makes for the love of the kids and the game. Follow the Softball coach as a role model. You will never fail. Former matanzas coach says go bull dogs.
William Colon says
Me being a combat veteran and a parent of 5 children 4 of which went to fpc and 1 who will be attending matanzas am offended and perturbed that Kyle johnson and the others acted like bullies and in front of children. Fpc and matanzas are in the same city and school district. I know for a fact the children are taught about bullying yet these coaches act like bullies in front of our children? I believe a public apology and re education about common sense and bullying need to be taught to these “coaches”. Its a damn shame this has to be said
Peg Desonier says
The question is why have these two idiots not been disciplined for harrassing this gentleman and American hero while He was working? Recruiting my ass. Small men with small minds. Guys . . . is it so hard to keep your eye on the ball. THE KIDS . . . duh
Ol’ Sarge says
It’s laughable that Matanzas is upset about this because of the possible recruiting implications…AS THEY HOST A MIDDLE SCHOOL TRACK TEAM’S PRACTICES ON THEIR CAMPUS. These are middle schoolers who are literally surrounded by Matanzas shirts, students, coaches, etc…if anyone is crossing a line here, it’s Matanzas.
WILLIAM J NELSON says
I’m too old to be involved in school politics, but I would be extremely disappointed if Flagler Live let this story end here. School officials MUST address and/or punish the narrow minded coaches.
This is ridiculous. Those coaches should have to make a public apology to griffin for what they did. We don’t allow our kids to bully or haze, why should the coaches be allowed. Fire them and hire Griffin as the head coach!
Are these Matanzas coaches for REAL? Gentlemen- and I use the term loosely- you are sniffing close to being called bigots, racist and chauvinists! I am wondering- did you take this stance because a black man was wearing another PALM COAST SCHOOLS SHIRT, on your “turf” and was under the supervision of a woman? What was the REAL offense???
In this community we EXPECT our teachers and coaches to represent to our children the UNITY of the community, the DIVERSITY of its residents, and the LOVE AND RESPECT we should ALL have for each other! I am APPALLED at the lack of decorum, civility, and outright RUDENESS exhibited in FRONT OF STUDENTS. As a resident whose TAXES pay your salaries, you should be sanctioned for this completely unnecessary action and APOLOGIZE PUBLICLY FOR YOUR TREATMENT OF THIS COACH!
I am thoroughly DISGUSTED!
I’m a proud graduate of FPC class of 1981 and beyond all the political bickering this has got to be the lowest of lows. Absolutely pathetic Matanzas that you would tolerate such behavior of employees of your school. What’s next, someone takes “High School Spirit” to the Supreme Court for wearing opposing high school shirts on enemy grounds? Wow.
At least a dozen names mentioned of employees at MHS, maybe the problem is too many coach’s , too.
Directors, too Administrators for so few participants. Have they ever heard of span of control, too many chiefs and not enough indians?
Anyone wonder WHY our kids are killing each other? ANYONE? These two MATANZAS coaches should be removed from Matanzas High School. They may work their, BUT CITIZENS pay taxes for those schools. So HE works for US. And they talk about unification at bad times…..yeah TALK IS CHEAP.
Kudos to Griffin for remaining professional, especially in front of the students. Interesting that Rigney didn’t seem to think twice about wearing all Matanzas gear at FPC for a scholarship signing. Maybe he should’ve bern given an FPC shirt to wear upon arrival.
This is crazy if he had a rude or vulgar shirt on i would understand but this is stupid Tim Kane and Jeremy Schaefer should be fired.
The worst part is they didn’t even have the guts to say it to his face, they had to hide behind someone else. real adult way to handle it.
The Geode says
JEEZUS! Even though the “school was petty”, it is easier to just change the frikkin shirt rather raise a big fuss about bullshyt. People these days have a serious “entitlement mentality” and instead of taking the “high road” – they rather get into pissing matches…
Long time resident says
We are one family and one county. Our children shouldn’t feel like rivals to each other unless it is in respected competition. This is a sad misuse of authority. We should be teaching our kids acceptance and love now more than ever.
Jeez, would it have been ok if he had a Maga hat on too? Then the retribution toward Griffin would have been justified- right?
No rule, no foul. You can’t make stuff up. Those coaches act like they own the track. News flash – it’s public property.
Ben Hogarth says
I feel as if just punishment for this would be a mandatory 2 week course on Constitutional Law and civic engagement in a federal system.
But considering the nature of how this story developed in the first place – I doubt these coaches would pay attention and learn something… they clearly didn’t the first time around.
Life long coach says
It’s amazing how many people are on the offensive against Matanzas for this. Where is the common sense from this coach? Why does the article have to bring up he’s a vet? Why does the article have to bring up Curtis Gray? None of that serves any purpose other than trying to develop sympathy for someone who is clearly not using common sense nor practicing common courtesy. Several MHS students have transferred to FPC for athletic reasons, including on the track team. FPC is rivals to MHS not only in the competitive sport but also in competition for attracting and keeping athletes. Once he was spoke to about this he should’ve realized that while engaging athletes on MHS campus he should not wear FPC. That is a sign of very poor taste. Almost as much poor taste as the writer of this for including the vet and Gray situation as if they are even slightly relevant to this situation.
Sounds like two D-Bag coaches trying to rooster up on this guy for no good reason. They should publicly apologize to Coach Griffin and thank him for his service, both militarily and to the kids he coaches.
Born and Raised Here says
Ridiculous ! As the first class to graduate from FPC, I am shock to hear this. I still wear my school colors proud, and it’s been over 40 years ! Long before MHS was even thought of !
As a student at matanzas and the manager of the track team I think that this is unbelievable. The other day I wore an fpc track shirt to school in order to support my fallen friend, Curtis Gray. Flagler county is one big family and this blows my mind that Kane would do this. Coach Griffin is a good guy and can wear whatever shirt he wants. This is not right
It is an embarrassment to even say that my daughter went to Matanzas High School!! What kind of an example are you setting TIM KANE and JEREMY SCHAEFER to our kids and did you even think why things are the way they are in our schools. Mr. Griffin is a great example and maybe you should learn from him how to care and get involved more with the kids to bring love and peace and not be ugly over a tee shirt, really!! Its whats behind that tee shirt that is important and maybe you should thank him for what he is doing and also show Mr. Griffin some respect a man that sacrificed for our country and worried more about our lives, while your worried about a tee shirt. I would like to personally thank Mr. Griffin for everything you have done and for serving our country and protecting our freedoms. Peace on Earth
Bulldog for Life Mom says
Ridiculous and typical of MHS staff! Would never happen at FPC ! Petty!
FPC Student says
As a student at FPC, there has never been a day where I HAVEN’T seen someone dressed in a MHS Shirt. hoodie, or anything. And FPC does not care. It’s called Unity. Not whatever this crap is where coaches who are underpaid, and here to help the students and only the students.
Outside Looking Out says
Flagler county – laughing stock of the state. Corrupt elected officials and now grown men who are supposed to be guiding the young people, acting like children. Unbelievable! I am so glad I got the hell out of Flagler county. I would feel ashamed to even admit I lived in Flagler county.
Incredible!! Let’s see what the School Boards does.
Tim Kane and Jeremy Schaefer should be fired immediately.
Clearly a hate crime.
Percy's mother says
I had occasion to come into contact with those Matanzas coaches this time last year, albeit on a minimal basis.
My impression was that they are extremely rude and condescending and certainly not any type of role model for the young people getting ready to go out into the world.
Not at all surprised by their behavior (the Matanzas coaches).
Another slap on the hand for bad behavior (if that).
When did the mean spirit infiltrate this country? Who told you that you had the right to treat others in this way? When this sort of behavior is displayed, in front of children, I’m not sure you can do anything about it but remove it. Coach Griffin is owed an apology. He is the better man here. Isn’t that what we are trying to teach our children? Or isn’t that allowed in school anymore?
WOW stupid shit right there.
It’s because of awful leadership at Matanzas High that our students are killing each other. Kane and Schafer have no place around children period. This is not the example they should be setting for our kids and I would suggest they lose their positions after they make a public apology.
Wow what 2 idiots to make a tea shirt a big deal they should be discipline for being morons petite crap. You to should get a life
You don’t know the half of it says
Indian Trails Middle School requested to practice at Matanzas High School with the Matanzas track students. The middle school students had a real track to practice on, real jumping pits, real places to throw shotput and discus. Not to mention, many of the Matanzas coaches helped the middle school students throughout their season alongside the middle school coaches. The reason coach Griffin was asked to not wear the fpc t-shirts was because the middle school students would be the future of MHS. He was approached on the first day of practice, and asked nicely not to wear it. Coach Griffin was telling the middle school students that They should go to FPC, while standing on the Matanzas track. Over past years, Matanzas has lost numerous athletes to FPC, athletes who were trained and taught what they know on the matanzas track, and then “recruited” by people like Griffin. Talk about “unity” all you want, how is this unity? Let the students chose where they want to go, stop giving them false hope that either school will make them “star athletes”. Tim Kane and Jeremy Schaefer were protecting this idea, not suggesting that Matanzas is better, not suggesting that Flagler Palm Coast is worse. To bring Curtis Gray into this article is an absolute shame. We have barely had time to mourn his loss and people are already using his story to defend themselves over a childish situation. They asked you in the beginning to not wear that shirt, just don’t wear the shirt. Students get referrals for disobeying the dress code, could you imagine if every student who didn’t wear a collared shirt got praised for doing it, this mans story is promoting that. Looks like next week I’ll have my student wear armless gym shirts and ripped jeans and when he gets in trouble, I’ll come here to complain about Matanzas administration. It’s obvious that Griffin came to this writer with his story searching for pity from the community, Matanzas coaches and administration were trying to handle the situation professionally. Griffin obviously had other ideas… going to the county level and to the news instead of handling it and moving on. Griffin also added rips on Matanzas High School being the “losing end of the stick” and that there would be no problem if FPC “sucked”. Try wearing a Matanzas shirt to FPC and see how long they let you wear it, the same thing would happen almost instantaneously.
Seems like someone has insolence issues.An adult, nonetheless!
@lifelongcoach- I subscribe underneath your comment! Totally agreed
Randy Jones says
FPC Student nailed it. It’s called UNITY. In this time when there is so much division can someone please tell us where MHS students can buy FPCHS shirts (and vice versa) to wear to their respective schools next week? School spirit is GREAT; UNITY is even better.
Tim Thomas says
Let me guess, the two coaches were white
I guess you missed the part where the school district said there was no such policy or dress code. Nice try trying to defend these guys and MHS. Your attempt at deflection didn’t work. These guys are jerks, they and the AD and principal should be required to give a public apology and then those two coaches should be fired. They are definitely not the people to be providing guidance for kids.
The students at Matanzas who disagree with what happened should pick a day next week and come to school with a FPC shirt on.
Rachelle Seltzer says
This story really breaks my heart. My son was with FPC Band for 4 years and we did multiple events with the Matanzas band, TOGETHER. They play the National Anthem TOGETHER for every Potato Bowl. The students, our children, they value each other and they are not against each other. They encourage each other. I have a son now at Matanzas who wears his brother’s FPC Band shirt to school. He loves his school and also proud of his brother’s high school band. We are not a house divided, we love both schools. I think this was a terrible mistake and those coaches shouls apologize for their own insecurities. Picking on a guy who is out there, practically volunteering, keeping kids busy and out of trouble.
concerned parent says
My child is a Indian Trails student and she witnessed the entire event. She said it was a scary moment for her and all the other track kids to see the coach at Matanzas walk up to her coach during practice aggressively and begin screaming at him. She thought it would escalate to a physical fight. She stated all the track kids just stopped what they were doing and watched how rude and loud the Matanzas track coach was yelling. She came home that day visible shaken by what she was forced to witness between 2 track coaches. She said several of the students knew the Matanzas coach was completely out of line by screaming at the Indian Trails coach and they didn’t understand why he was making such a big deal out of the shirt issue. None of the kids thought anything of it. This was just something that bothered the Matanzas coach. Ridiculous. She said he just kept yelling at the Indian Trails coach to change his shirt right now. That poor coach was approached in a threatening manner while he was coaching other kids. They all witnessed the screaming from Mantanzas coach. He needs to be fired immediately. Lets practice what we preach to our kids. Lets keep our schools a safe, free bully zone. I’m very disappointed the district has not fired that coach.
@Youdontknowhalfofit, Evidently YOU do NOT know what you are talking about, with all your longwindedness. My daughter ROUTINELY wears a Matanzas shirt at FPC and it has NEVER been a problem. So evidently YOU do NOT know even part of it.
Way to really teach our kids about the importance of priorities and perspective in life.
Two white guys don’t like the black guy.
A racist sample.
Next thing you know the state will try to let these hot head , unprofessional teachers carry guns in schools around our students! Could you imagine that!!!