Sixty-four-year-old Marston Riley teaches music in a Los Angeles area high school. He was arrested on Friday afternoon on suspicion of child abuse and causing great bodily harm on a child, according to NBC News. The charges stem from videos that show Riley striking a student in the classroom.
Videos of the altercation are from the cellphones of other students who were in the classroom during the incident. They show the student confronting Riley after the student said that the teacher spoke badly of him. Other students who were in the room said that Riley called out the student for not being dressed in the appropriate school uniform. When the student refused to comply with Riley’s request that he leave the classroom, the 14-year-old student became verbally abusive in the videos, cursing at the teacher, calling him racist names, and challenging him.
Riley initially stood quietly but, after the student threw what appeared to be a basketball at the teacher, the adult eventually struck the student. The Maywood Academy High School teacher continued striking him. At one point he appeared to strike the student with an object. His attack continued until he beat the student to the ground.
A student and an adult tried unsuccessfully to pull the two apart, according to WECT News. Finally someone in a yellow vest broke up the fight. The student was taken to the hospital where he was treated for “moderate injuries” and released. Los Angeles Unified Schools spokeswoman Shannon Haber commented on the altercation.
“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. Crisis counselors and additional School Police patrols will be at the school on Monday to support our students and staff.”
Riley’s wife had no comment Friday afternoon, but multiple students and parents said that this was not the first violent incident the teacher had been involved in. They reported that he had been involved in another major incident last year.
A report from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department shows that the scuffle between the teacher and student took place at around 1:15 p.m. on Friday. Riley was held by police overnight before being released on $50,000 bail Saturday. He is scheduled for arraignment on November 30. The sheriff’s special victims unit is investigating the incident.