Florida Mom Arrested For Holding Middle Schooler Down So Her Son And His Friends Could Beat Him Up

Photo: Public Record
Ashley Griffin Mugshot

Ashley Ruffin, a 30-year-old mother living in Palm Coast, Florida, is facing felony charges for allegedly helping her son and his friend attack another child. 

The Florida woman allegedly joined in while her son was fighting another child.

On September 8th the victim’s mother contacted the sheriff’s deputy to report the incident that her son was in a fight outside the Sports Complex in Flagler County, Florida.

According to the report, the victim told the sheriff that he was sitting with friends minding his own business when two kids approached him, “one of them started hitting him and he got up and pushed him to the ground, and then other boys started hitting him and that’s when his friends started coming over to help him.” 

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The victim also stated, “he believes one of the boy’s mother grabbed him and held him while the boys beat him.”

Witnesses also testified that a woman grabbed the victim and also displayed a taser during the altercation.

After taking the victim, his mother, and witness’s reports, Ruffin was identified and the police attempted to contact her.

They informed her husband that Ruffin could be facing legal charges only for him to become “irate” and state that “he was going to call the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to file a report about the fight.” He also said that he would not allow his wife and son to speak with them.

Ruffin was later arrested.

Sheriff Rick Staly had this to say about the case:

“There is zero excuses for an adult, especially a parent, to be physically involved in a juvenile dispute. Kids need to have leadership from their parents and taught how to handle disputes properly. I doubt she will receive a mother of the year award.”

Ruffin says her son was being bullied. 

After Ruffin’s arrest, she went onto Facebook Live on Sept 10 to explain her side of the story. At the beginning of her video, Ruffin is distressed and pleads with the public to hear her story.

She starts by explaining how she and her husband raised her 12-year-old son Elijah “Eli”. She goes on to say they have told him, “Don’t start anything, don’t ever hit no one. If someone does attack you then defend yourself.”

She explains, “That’s the way my family raised me and that’s how I raise him but don’t ever start anything... Always know that your mom and dad have your back. don’t be scared to tell us anything.”

She then proceeds to recount the events leading up to the incident that gained law enforcement’s attention. 

Ruffin states that her son was playing basketball when the kid the sheriff’s office labeled “the victim” began pushing her son and giving him a hard time.

She says her son asked the kid to stop. However, the kid persisted, taking it all the way into the locker room where several other 13-14-year-olds were.

Ruffin claims son didn’t want to get involved because he didn’t want to get in trouble. In simple terms, her son was trying to avoid the situation altogether.

But the kid continued to provoke and instigate calling her son names and just being overall aggressive towards him. The boys ended up walking out into the hallway which was where a fight broke out.

Ruffin tells her audience that she got a phone call from the school saying her son was in a fight, but it was no big deal, everyone was fine, and it was “a 3-second altercation”. 

However, she explains in the Facebook Live video that someone had recorded the altercation and what she saw was not what the principal had told her. Instead, the video of the incident depicted her son getting severely beat up.

Ruffin and her husband met with the principal who stuck to his narrative until Ruffin brought up the video. This is when, according to Ruffin, “the principal’s demeanor changed and they did nothing about it."

At first, the Ruffins wanted to press charges against the kid, but later decided to talk to the parents.

“This kid is young, if we have a sit down with his parents we can solve this together,” Ruffin says, explaining that she thought it was a better way to solve the issue than to ruin this kid’s future with a record, “he’s a bully, but he’s just a kid”.

Ruffin said the principal told them something like that wasn’t possible and sent them on their way. 

Ruffin heard nothing more from the school over that holiday weekend. So when Tuesday arrived, Ruffin stated that she tried to prepare her son to go back, “Don’t look at him. Don’t seek him out. Laugh it off. Don’t instigate.” 

But when she went to pick him up that afternoon at the Sports Complex she saw the kids fighting once again amongst a mob of middle schoolers.

She first says she was confused as to why that kid was with her son at the Sports Complex since he didn’t get picked up there, but was also scared seeing that there were “at least 10-15 kids on his side”. Being a mother, she immediately hopped out of the car yelling at her husband to park. 

She goes on, “I grabbed him [the kid] by his backpack to pull him off, and everyone thought I was some sort of superwoman. The kid is taller than me.”

She addresses her audience pondering the what if, “What if wouldn’t have got there? Did you guys expect me to just sit in my car and take my phone and maybe record it and say ‘Go, Eli! Go kick his ass’”

She continues, “No, I stopped it because that’s someone else’s kid and that’s my kid getting beat up for a second time, and thank god he had his friends there”

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Ruffin has criticized the media coverage of her story. 

The distressed mother then turned to the news and social media buzz about her “supposed” story. 

“For me being dragged on social media, I wish you were in my shoes what would you do if your kid was getting beat for ten seconds inside of a school and no one stops it. Where’s the patrol officers? Where’s the administration? Where’s the principal? Where’s the teachers? Where’s your bully policy? How can I not be enraged?!” 

She continues, “And I’m being dragged that I’m a monster and the own sheriff of my town decides to say I’m not gonna get the mother of the year award? Thank you, sir. Thank you so much.”

She also criticized the apparent lack of care for her son's needs.

“Has anyone asked if my kid is okay not physically but mentally. His mom is all over the news and no one has heard our side. Because we wanted to do the right thing."

She even addresses the taser aspect of the sheriff's report calling it mind-blowing, “And the taser part blows my mind. A taser right and your witnesses are children and the kids that beat up my kids’ friends are the witnesses. This is so biased, so single-sided and wrong.”

The video wraps up with Ruffin telling the world that she doesn’t know what to do, “I don’t know what to do. I'm just so broken about this, and the victim is my son.”

She does know one thing though. Ruffin promises, “I would never hurt a kid and I hope my day in court comes because justice will be served.”

Ruffin will face a misdemeanor battery charge, along with the felony count of child abuse, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Battery charges have been submitted to the State Attorney’s Office for the other juveniles involved in the altercation.

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Deauna Nunes is an assistant editor who covers pop culture, love and relationships, lifestyle, and news & entertainment for YourTango. She's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.