On Friday, California music teacher Marston Riley asked a student to leave his classroom, because the student was not wearing the proper Maywood Academy High School uniform.
When the 14-year-old student refused, others in the classroom took out their cell phone cameras to record the confrontation, according to KTLA.
And the situation escalated quickly.
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Riley tried to call for backup but lost his temper when the student used a racial slur against him because he is black. The student also threw a basketball at the 64-year-old instructor.
Witnesses told KTLA that the student was heavily provoking Riley.
After the exchange, Riley punched the student in the face, knocking him backward. The two then engaged in a fist fight.
At one point, the student held onto the teacher’s leg as Riley punched him. The fight continued for about 30 seconds until another faculty member entered the room and broke it up.
The 64-year-old was arrested and is facing child abuse charges after the fight. Parents of children at the school were outraged by the incident.
However, many in the local community are standing behind Riley, because they feel he was provoked by racial language. One student said:
“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.
According to CBS Los Angeles, a woman who works for the same school district as Riley has started a GoFundMe to raise money for his legal fees.
So far, it’s raised over $30,000. In his first public statement since the arrest, Riley said he was thankful for all the support.
In a short video message, he said:
“I want to thank you for supporting me. You are a blessing.”
As of now, Riley has not been fired from the high school. He is currently being held on $50,000 bond.