A GoFundMe page has raised more than $26,000 in two days in support of a high school music teacher who was arrested after being captured on video punching one of his students in band class.
Marston Riley, 64, was taken into custody on Friday, November 2, on “suspicion of child abuse and causing great bodily injury on a child,” KTLA reported. Riley was released Saturday, November 3 from the Los Angeles County Jail after posting $50,000 bail, according to sheriff’s inmate records.
A cellphone video showed Marston Riley, a Maywood Academy High School music teacher, punching a student. According to KTLA, the confrontation escalated after Riley told the teenager to leave the classroom because he was not wearing his proper band uniform.
The student refused to leave and was filmed challenging his black teacher to fight, calling him the N-word and throwing a basketball at him.
Riley then asked the 14-year-old to leave again before repeatedly punching him in the face.
The brawl at Maywood Academy High School on Pine Avenue was reported to authorities around 1:30 P.M., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Joana Warren said. Inmate records show Riley was arrested around 2:30 P.M.
Detectives with the agency’s Special Victims Bureau are now investigating the case, Warren added.
However, students who spoke with KTLA on Friday night all came out in support of their music teacher following his arrest, saying the classmate had provoked Riley and pushed him to the brink.
Scores of people have been defending Riley on social media and the GoFundMe page set up by his former colleague had raised more than $26,000 for his legal fees. They said Riley has been physically and verbally attacked in the past.
“Mr. Riley doesn’t deserve this. It’s sad seeing our generation fall apart due to the immaturity and stupidity young students are exemplifying. Our teacher deserved RESPECT, not insults. He deserves to be DEFENDED, not plastered in such a negative way,” one student tweeted.
Another student told KTLA that the situation was a setup.
“Everything was planned out,” he said. “There were students there who were already taking out their phones to record the incident. I don’t think it’s completely fair that they’re just putting the blame all on (Riley) when I personally know that he’s a good guy.”
Another teen described Riley as being kind and said he had a good relationship with his students.
“I had this teacher before and I had no problem with him. He was a really nice teacher, I always respected him. He always had a really good relationship with every student,” one student said.
“I think something needs to be done. That’s way out of hand,” a parent told CBS Los Angeles.
The school’s principal said crisis counselors would be on hand Monday. The Los Angeles Unified School District told ABC 7 said it was a personnel issue and was cooperating with police.
Who Is Marston Riley?
Riely, 64, is a music teacher at Maywood Academy High School in Maywood, California. He was caught on video punching a 14-year-old student in a band class. Riley was then arrested on Friday.
He was released from the East Los Angeles sheriff’s station on Saturday morning after posting $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned November 30.
Students were organizing to wear all black to school on Monday, November 5 as they used to the hashtag #justiceforriley.
The boy, who has not been identified, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for moderate injuries and later released, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.