A high school music teacher in California was arrested Friday and charged with child abuse after he got into a physical fight with a 14-year-old student who verbally provoked him in class. USA Today has cellphone video of the incident at Maywood Academy High School, where 64-year-old Marston Riley can be seen calmly absorbing the remarks of the belligerent student; students tell KTLA the teen had been asked to leave the class due to a dress code violation. For about a minute and a half, Riley quietly keeps asking the student to leave, per the Los Angeles Times, as the student berates him, calls him the n-word, and finally throws a basketball at him. Then, suddenly, Riley punches the student in the face, and they scuffle for about 30 seconds as students scream, until a woman in a vest runs in and breaks it up.
KTLA spoke with some students and notes most are defending Riley, with one even suggesting it was a setup. A GoFundMe started in Riley's name by a colleague, meanwhile, had raised more than $75,000 as of Tuesday morning; Riley himself put up a short video confirming the fundraiser was legit and to thank everyone who supported him. "We all may have mixed feelings about what happened," the page host notes. "But please do know that this is not the first time that Mr. Riley is [sic] attacked; physically or verbally. He is a great person and a great teacher." As for the school district, it said in a statement: "We take this matter very seriously and do not condone violence or intolerance of any kind." The boy was treated for "moderate" injuries at the hospital, per the local sheriff. Riley is set to be arraigned on Nov. 30. (A substitute teacher reportedly ran a classroom fight club.)