California music teacher arrested after video captures him punching student

A music teacher who taught at a California high school was arrested Friday after a video captured him fighting with a student during class, officials said.

Marston Riley, 64, was taken into custody on “suspicion of child abuse and causing great bodily injury on a child,” KTLA reported. The incident occurred at Maywood Academy High School in Maywood, Calif. CBS Los Angeles reported his bail was set at $50,000 but online records indicated he was out of custody and was bonded out.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the case was being turned over to the special victims’ bureau which will handle the investigation.

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The cellphone video showed the teacher punching a student before it escalated. The two were seen going across the room before the teacher grabbed the student and struck him with an object believed to be a cellphone. Students in the classmate were heard yelling in the background. A few students tried to break it up.

The fight allegedly started after the teacher dismissed the student from class after they didn’t wear the right uniform. However, the student returned and began cursing and yelling racial slurs at the teacher, KTLA reported. The incident escalated after a basketball was thrown at the teacher.

A student who was in the classroom at the time told CBS Los Angeles he was “scared” for the student and teacher.

“It was just back and forth, back and forth, and then the teacher just decided to throw a punch and that’s when everything happened,” the student told CBS Los Angeles.

Another student stuck up for Riley to KTLA saying he was a “nice teacher.”

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“I had this teacher before and I had no problem with him,” the student told KTLA. “He was a really nice teacher, I always respected him. He always had a really good relationship with every student.”

A parent told CBS Los Angeles that the incident was “out of hand.”

“I think something needs to be done. That’s way out of hand,” a parent said.

The school’s principal said crisis counselors would be on hand Monday. The Los Angeles Unified School District told ABC 7 said it was a personnel issue and was cooperating with police.

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