A high school music teacher in Los Angeles faces a child abuse allegation after video shows him punching a teenaged student
A high school music teacher in Los Angeles faces a child abuse allegation after video shows him punching a teenaged student.
Marston Riley, 64, of Maywood Academy High School in California was released from jail on Saturday, one day after he was filmed punching a 14-year-old boy repeatedly during class.
In the cellphone video, captured by another student and shared by local news outlets, Riley and the boy, who has not been identified, can be seen standing at the front of a classroom where they exchanged punches during a heated dispute.
Students told KTLA that Riley allegedly asked the boy to leave the classroom because he was not wearing a proper uniform. In the footage, the student can be heard responding by repeatedly saying a racial slur at Riley, who is black. The brawl escalated further after the student threw a basketball at Riley.
Though Riley appeared to be standing quietly at first, he can later be seen striking the boy, who was seen on the ground wrapping his arms around Riley’s leg. The altercation ended when a woman in a yellow safety vest intervened.
Authorities confirmed the student was treated for “moderate injuries” at a local hospital before he was released. Meanwhile, Riley was arrested on suspicion of child abuse Friday, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department inmate records. He was kept overnight and released on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 30.
The Special Victims Bureau of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is currently conducting an investigation.
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“We are extremely disturbed by the reports of the events that occurred at Maywood Academy High School,” the Los Angeles Unified School District said in a statement. “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.”
District Superintendent Beutner also released a statement following the altercation.
“The incident we saw does not reflect the values of Maywood Academy High School and the wonderful teachers and students who make up the Maywood community,” he said. “We will continue our work to make each school a safe and welcoming learning environment for students and to provide teachers and staff with the support they deserve.”
Though Riley did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, he spoke out in a YouTube video thanking students for their support.
Cecilia Diaz Jimenez, who claims to have previously worked at Maywood Academy, created a GoFundMe page for Riley. “Be mindful that the school district is looking at dismissing him and I would not doubt if the student’s parents are looking into pressing criminal charges,” she wrote in the page description.
“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,” Jimenez added.