A Maywood high school music teacher who was caught on widely circulated cell phone video punching a 14-year-old student during a classroom argument was charged Friday with a misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a child.
Marston Riley, 64, of Anaheim, is accused of hitting the boy during the Nov. 2 altercation at Maywood Academy High School. The altercation occurred in front of a classroom filled with students.
Witnesses said shortly after the fight that Riley had asked the student to leave class because he wasn’t wearing a proper uniform. The student allegedly responded by yelling racial epithets at Riley, who is black, including the N-word.
Cell phone video taken by another student shows the teacher suddenly striking the boy in the face, then continuing to hit him as they grappled, even after a school security guard came into the classroom and tried to intervene.
Riley was arrested but was released the following day. The cell phone video has prompted a wave of support for Riley. Some backers — while not fully condoning Riley’s actions — have suggested the student provoked the teacher through the use of vile epithets.
As of Friday afternoon, a GoFundMe page set up on Riley’s behalf has raised more than $187,000.
“We all may have mixed feelings about what happened,” according to the GoFundMe page. “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.”
The student suffered moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released, according to the sheriff’s department.
Riley is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 4 at the East Los Angeles courthouse, and could face up to a year in jail if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
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