MAYWOOD (CBSLA) – Nearly $65,000 had been raised as of Monday for a 64-year-old music teacher jailed after a fight with a 14-year-old boy in a classroom at an alternative high school in Maywood.
The confrontation between Marston Riley and the student occurred at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Maywood Academy High School at 6125 Pine Ave., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The school is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Video showed Riley slugging it out with the student as other students and a woman wearing a yellow safety vest try to intervene. Some students could be seen recording the fight on their cellphones.
School police relayed information about what happened to the deputies and Riley was arrested and taken to the sheriff’s station for booking on suspicion of committing cruelty against a child.
He was booked there on $50,000 bail, officials said.
Riley was released Saturday morning, according to the sheriff’s Inmate Information Center.
The GoFundMe effort, which had raised $57,759 as of late this afternoon, was started by Cecilia Diaz, who identified herself as a Maywood resident who works for the school district and formerly worked at Maywood Academy.
“These funds will be spent to lessen any burdens that Mr. Riley may endure during this process,” she wrote.
The GoFundMe’s goal was to raise $50,000 on the teacher’s behalf.
Marston Riley, who was charged with child abuse, appeared Sunday in a 17-second video attached to the GoFundMe page, speaking publicly for the first time since Friday’s brawl.
“I want to thank you for supporting me,” Riley, seen sitting in a recliner, said in a quiet voice. “You are a blessing.”
The fight between Riley and the 14-year-old student erupted over the teen being reprimanded for not wearing the proper school uniform. Cell phone video recorded by other students in the class captured the teen throwing a basketball at Riley before going on a racist tirade.
“That’s really disrespectful. It’s a teacher, so that’s not OK, you know,” Maywood resident Jenni Chavez said. “But however, it’s still not OK for the teacher to have punched a student either.”
“He really respects his students and he cares about his students a lot,” one student told CBS2/KCAL9’s Dave Lopez.
The LAUSD released the following statement Saturday:
“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.”
District Superintendent Austin Beutner was on hand to meet with the school’s principal, teachers, counselors and parents Monday morning “to offer his full support to the school community during this challenging time,” the district’s Shannon Haber said.
Meetings were also held among students, staff and parents.
Crisis counselors will be present throughout the coming week and school police will also monitor the campus, according to district spokeswoman Shannon Haber.
The fight was over the uniform worn by the student, who allegedly directed racial epithets at Riley, according to a broadcast report.
Deputies from the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station responded to the school after being called by the principal, the sheriff’s department reported.
“The incident we saw does not reflect the values of Maywood Academy High School and the wonderful teachers and students who make up the Maywood community,” Beutner said. “We will continue our work to make each school a safe and welcoming learning environment for students and to provide teachers and staff with the support they deserve.”
Riley’s arraignment was scheduled for Nov. 30 at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Courthouse, the Sheriff’s Information Bureau reported. The investigation was being handled by the Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau.
The student suffered moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released, the sheriff’s department said.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)