In a now infamous video that has gone viral online, a Los Angeles-area teacher was captured fighting one of his students after the teen repeatedly called him the n-word and threw a basketball at him.
The incident happened Friday at Maywood Academy High School, and the teacher—64-year-old Marston Riley—was arrested on suspicion of child abuse. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau is currently investigating the incident.
Students told the Times that the incident started when Riley asked the student to leave the classroom because he was not dressed in the proper uniform. The student responded by calling Riley names, cursing at him and throwing the basketball at him.
In the video, Riley can be seen repeatedly and calmly asking the student to leave. He walks away from the student and then comes back and stands in front of the classroom. He asks the student to leave again and then suddenly starts punching him.
The two begin punching and fighting each other. A school employee comes in and tries to break the two up and eventually, with the help of several others, the fight is stopped.
Riley was held at the East Los Angeles sheriff’s station until he posted a $50,000 bond on Saturday morning.
The Los Angeles Unified School District said in a statement that they found the incident to be extremely disturbing.
“We take this matter very seriously and do not condone violence or intolerance of any kind,” the district statement said. “Los Angeles Unified is cooperating with law enforcement in investigating this incident.”
Riley’s actions were widely defended on social media as well as by community members and other students at the school. One parent told CBS News that she would “have done the exact same thing.”
“Us parents have to learn how to teach our children to respect teachers and older people,” she said.
Maywood Academy faculty released a statement that said in part “Many Americans saw for the first time the deterioration of respect for teachers...We have created an environment where disrespect, bullying and intolerance can thrive.”
The faculty is asking the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office not to press charges against Riley.
Riley has taught at the school for seven years and is reportedly well-respected by both teachers and students there.
NBC News reports that a GoFundMe started in Riley’s name by Maywood resident Cecilia Diaz Jimenez had raised more than $90,000 by Tuesday afternoon.
Riley will be arraigned Nov. 30 in a Los Angeles court. The district has put him on home detention, which means he is suspended with pay until further notice.
LAUSD told NBC News that administrators have met with students, staff and parents “to begin the healing process.”