He was caught on camera repeatedly punching a student (video at bottom). But apparently it doesn’t count because mean words were spoken to him first.
We’re talking about an altercation between a student and a music teacher at a Los Angeles high school that went from threatening words to full blown fisticuffs back in 2018. While the outcome is what it is, the scenario that transpired begs the question of “What would I do in that situation?”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has dismissed a child abuse case against a former teacher, Marston Riley, who when he was 64-years-old was caught on video last year repeatedly punching a high school student who was threatening and intimidating him while repeatedly calling him racial slurs.
Marston Riley, now 65, was arrested in November 2018 after cellphone footage that was captured at Maywood Academy High School showed him striking a then 14-year-old boy several times before another adult intervened in the fray.
Riley had worked at the time as a music teacher in Maywood, which is a small city southeast of downtown Los Angeles. He was released from jail after posting bond.
Prior to the fight, the teenager confronted Riley in the middle of the classroom, holding himself in a “posture typically meant to intimidate people” and constantly closing the gap when Riley moves away from the student. The student’s motivation for disrupting the class and “calling out” the 64-year-old teacher was for allegedly saying negative things about him. The video showed the boy cursing at Riley, who is black, and calling him a racial slur.
At one point in the video before punches were thrown, the teen can even be seen throwing what appears to be a basketball near the groin area of Riley while saying:
“You got me f***** up n****.”
Then he moves toward the teacher at a near chest-to-chest level.
Well, after repeated attempts from Riley to get away from the teen who seemed relentless in their provocation of a physical altercation, the teacher had reached his boiling point and finally struck the student several times.
Apparently, the young man had gotten more than he bargained for when “calling out” a near senior citizen. The teen was hospitalized for “moderate injuries” after the fight and was then released from the hospital.
A spokesperson for the D.A.’s office said a motion was filed on Monday to drop a misdemeanor corporal injury charge against Riley and the court granted it. The decision to dismiss the case was based on a number of factors, including Riley not having a prior criminal record and not getting into any trouble after the altercation.
The prosecutor also took into consideration “the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident,” Riley’s age, his completion of a 10-week anger management course and his being forced into early retirement from his job. While we’re sure they also considered the incident in it’s entirety as well, there wasn’t any mention if those aspects were taken into consideration.
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Following the November 2018 incident, community members raised more than $90,000 for Riley and a GoFundMe had also managed to raise $190,000 as well.
In a Facebook video statement Wednesday, Riley thanked his supporters and said because the case was dismissed, he could explain what happened with the student.
Riley said the incident began after he told the teen that he was not wearing the proper school uniform. The teacher claims the student became upset and was using “foul language.” Riley said the boy called him the N-word several times.
Riley said he initially kept calm and asked the student multiple times to leave the room, this was also made evident by the video.
“The less I did, the more violent he got,” Riley said, adding that the teen hit him with a basketball.
At that point, he said it was game on.
“That’s when the physical altercation happened,” he continued.
Riley said the fight reminded him of another incident in which three students allegedly jumped him.
“My thinking at that time was this ain’t going to happen to me again,” he explained.
In the wake of everything, I’m actually glad that the county has decided to drop the charges. While not being an advocate of hitting children, there’s a clear line between an insubordinate child and one who is actively assaulting you. Sometimes, adults need to prepare children for the world in more ways than just one, and it’s obvious this young man learned a hard lesson of cause and effect.
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