On Friday, a confrontation between a 14-year-old boy and his 64-year-old teacher turned violent after the boy reportedly hurled racial epithets and profanity at the teacher.
Students in the music class of teacher Marston Riley at Maywood Academy High School in Southeast Los Angeles videotaped the confrontation on their cell phones. According to KTLA, students said Riley had asked the boy to leave the class because he wasn’t wearing the correct uniform. The boy reputedly refused to leave the class, and that’s when it got ugly.
Videotape shows the boy throw a basketball at Riley, prompting him to pull out his cellphone to ask for help. The boy allegedly continued to hurl profanity and the “n-word’ at Riley, who then punched him.
According to The Daily Mail, the verbal back and forth went like this:
Student: You got me f***ed up n****, you got me f***ed up, bro. Why you say you're gonna beat my a**? Wassup?”
Teacher: “I won't, I won't.”
Student: “Why your voice cracking, my n****? Yeah walk the f*** back ... why you shaking bro?”
KTLA reported, “The ensuing brawl lasts about 30 seconds, with the pair clambering across the room as Riley repeatedly delivers blows and others in the classroom shriek. The boy is only able to deliver about one punch. The video shows Riley continued to aggressively pursue the student even after other school officials responded to break up the fight. The footage ends as the student is being pulled from the room by campus staff.”
CNN noted, “The boy wound up on the ground wrapping his arms around Riley's leg. Riley, at this point, repeatedly punches him.”
The students whom KTLA interviewed took Riley’s side, saying their classmate pushed him too far. One student said, "Everything was planned out. There were students there who were already taking out their phones to record the incident. I don't think it's completely fair that they're just putting the blame all on (Riley), when I personally know that he's a good guy." Another student echoed, "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."
Another student told CBS Los Angeles: “I was scared for the kid, and partly for the teacher too. It was just back and forth, back and forth, and then the teacher just decided to throw a punch and that’s when everything happened,.”
CBS2/KCAL9 reported it had obtained another video from a parent that showed Riley in a fistfight with a different student over a year ago.
Riley was arrested on charges of child abuse and has an arraignment scheduled for November 30.
The Los Angeles Unified School District released a statement: "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."