A Los Angeles teacher arrested for fighting a student is receiving support from hundreds of strangers after video of the teen spewing hate speech toward the educator went viral.
The Los Angeles Times reports the incident took place last Friday at Maywood Academy High School. Student witnesses told KTLA their music teacher, Marston Riley, 64, asked their classmate to leave the room because he was not dressed in the proper uniform. The student responded by swearing, calling Riley the N-word several times and throwing a basketball at him.
The video shows Riley walking away from the student as the 14-year-old continues to insult his elder. He then walks back over to the teen, asks him to leave again and proceeds to start punching him.
The two traded blows, and Riley hitting the student several times. School staff broke up the fight, resulting in Riley’s arrest on suspicion of child abuse. He was released Saturday after posting $50,000 bail. See footage from the CBS report below.
Riley’s actions have been defended by several in the community, including local resident Cecilia Diaz Jimenez, who started a GoFundMe for the teacher. By Tuesday night, over $100,000 had been raised on Riley’s behalf.
“We all may have mixed feelings about what happened. But please do know that this is not the first time that Mr. Riley is attacked; physically or verbally. He is a great person and a great teacher,” reads the fundraising page. “These funds will be spent to lessen any burdens that Mr. Riley may endure during this process.”
Students have also come to his defense, with one telling KTLA, “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.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District released the following statement Saturday: “We are extremely disturbed by the reports of the events that occurred at Maywood Academy High School. We take this matter very seriously and do not condone violence or intolerance of any kind. Los Angeles Unified is cooperating with law enforcement in investigating this incident.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.