A fight broke out in a high school band room last week, and the incident cost a respected teacher his job. Marston Riley, 64, was arrested after video emerged that showed him in a violent altercation with one of his 14-year-old students. Marston was arrested for his role in the fight, but that’s not where this story ends.
Students are coming to the defense of their teacher. Marston’s pupils from Maywood Academy High School in California have raised more than $25,000 for their teacher’s defense fund.
The fight began when Marston told the student to leave his classroom. The boy wasn’t wearing his band uniform, as Marston had required of his band.
Video clearly shows the boy challenging Marston to a fight. The student uses charged language, and even throws a basketball at his teacher.
The student refused to leave and was filmed challenging his black teacher to fight, calling him the N-word and throwing a basketball at him.
When the student struck Marston, the music teacher fought back.
“Several students have come out in support of their music teacher following his arrest,” The Daily Mail writes, “saying the student had provoked Riley and that he had been viciously attacked by a group of students before.”
“Mr Riley doesn’t deserve this. It’s sad seeing our generation fall apart due to the immaturity and stupidity young students are exemplifying. Our teacher deserved RESPECT, not insults. He deserves to be DEFENDED, not plastered in such a negative way,” one student wrote on social media.
One of the students who witnessed the fight told reporters the fight was a set-up.
“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,” the student wrote.
One of his former students responded and stood up for Marston’s character.
“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,” one student wrote.
In 2017 Marston reportedly confronted three students he found skipping class. The students attacked him and beat him. That incident wasn’t filmed, so who started the fight is disputed still.
Now some at the school are rallying behind Marston. “Students were organizing to wear all black to school on Monday as they used to the hashtag #justiceforriley.”
After the fight, the Los Angeles Unified School District released this statement.
“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.”
The incident is being investigated still. The story is far from over.