Teacher attacks antagonist student

Daily Mail

GoFundMe surges for band teacher who punched racist student

The confrontation escalated and went viral.


Nahila Bonfiglio


Published Nov 7, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 2:13 am CDT

A GoFundMe page for 64-year-old music teacher Marston Riley has reached $137,886, nearly tripling its $50,000 goal. The page was started by Cecilia Diaz Jimenez following an altercation in Riley’s classroom in which he repeatedly punched a 14-year-old student who used the N-word during a verbal tirade.

Riley was arrested following the incident at Maywood Academy High School in Los Angeles, where he teaches band. The student was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries, the local sheriff’s department told the Daily Mail. It is uncertain whether the student’s family will press charges, but the funds donated to Riley’s GoFundMe are aimed, in part, at combatting potential legal costs.

The incident, caught nearly in full on camera, was supposedly set up to purposefully provoke Riley. One student told KTLA that everything was previously planned out. “There were students there who were already taking out their phones to record the incident,” they said under condition of anonymity. “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.”

The altercation lasted just over a minute. The video begins after Riley has already asked the student to leave the classroom for not arriving in his band uniform. The student then begins to antagonize Riley, hurling racial insults at him while asking “Why your voice cracking, my n***a? Yeah, walk the fuck back… why you shaking bro?” The verbal attacks lasted nearly a minute, with Riley shaking his head and appearing to repeatedly urge the student to leave before finally reaching his breaking point after being struck by a basketball thrown by the student.

The first punch came out of nowhere, knocking the student back several steps. Riley pursued the retreating 14-year-old, tussling with him around music stands and startled bandmembers. After about 30 seconds of fighting, a security officer entered the room and attempted to break up the fight. By the end, several other teachers had also entered the room. The adults separated Riley from the student, hauling the young man out the door.

Dozens of students and teachers flocked to Riley’s defense, saying his reputation as a kind and capable educator should be considered when it comes to disciplinary action. “Mr Riley doesn’t deserve this. It’s sad seeing our generation fall apart due to the immaturity and stupidity young students are exemplifying,” one student tweeted, according to the Daily Mail. “Our teacher deserved RESPECT, not insults. He deserves to be DEFENDED, not plastered in such a negative way.”

Others pointed out that the student clearly provoked Riley, who was reportedly viciously attacked by a group of students last year. Students told the Daily Mail that Riley was thrown to the ground and beaten by three teens after discovering that they were skipping class. Reports say a parent initially claimed Riley started the fight by throwing the first punch.

A statement from the Los Angeles Unified School District was released following the incident, in which it said it was “extremely disturbed.” The school district has not announced what disciplinary action it will take.

“We take this matter very seriously and do not condone violence or intolerance of any kind,” the statement reads. “Los Angeles Unified is cooperating with law enforcement in investigating this incident.” Riley was released from East Los Angeles sheriff’s station, where he was being held, on $50,000 bail Saturday morning. Riley is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 30.

H/T Daily Mail

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*First Published: Nov 7, 2018, 10:40 am CST