LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — A 64-year old music teacher in Los Angeles got a huge amount of support from internet after a video showing him punching an unruly student in classroom.
Marston Riley was arrested and booked for child abuse on Friday before posting bail the next day.
However, till Monday noon, a GoFundMe online campaign had received 39,599 U.S. dollars donation from 1,622 supporters in two days to help with Riley’s legal fees.
Riley, who appeared Sunday in a 17-second video attached to a GoFundMe page, spoke publicly for the first time since Friday’s brawl.
“I want to thank you for supporting me,” Riley, sitting in a recliner, said in a quiet voice. “You are a blessing.”
The fight between Riley and the 14-year-old teen erupted when the teacher told the student he was not wearing the proper school uniform. The student threw a basketball at Riley before unleashing a tirade of racist profanity.
The student, punched by Riley many times on head, was taken to a hospital and treated for moderate injuries after the classroom brawl.
L.A. Unified School District issued a statement Sunday, saying: “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.”
As the video went viral during weekend, more social media users reached out in support of Riley on Twitter.
“He stayed calm, told the student to leave the classroom. If your kid thinks they’re old enough to cuss out an adult (ESPECIALLY THEIR TEACHER) then they’re old enough to get punched like this,” a user named GhostofDukeEllington wrote.
Students also expressed support to the teacher when they were interviewed by local CBS2 news channel.
“The kid really messed up doing that – calling him the N-word,” student Fabiola Martinez said.
“He’s a wonderful teacher. He’s just here to help us learn how to play instruments,” Fernando Juarez added.
Cecilia Diaz Jimenez, a Maywood resident and colleague of Riley at the same High School from 2015 to June 2018, started the GoFundMe campaign.
“We all may have mixed feelings about what happened. But please do know that this is not the first time that Mr. Riley is attacked, physically or verbally. He is a great person and a great teacher.” Jimenez said.