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Students Rally To Defend Teacher Charged With Child Abuse After Classroom Brawl

MAYWOOD (CBSLA) — Students are speaking out in defense of a Maywood teacher charged with child abuse following a classroom brawl with a student Friday.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. says it's investigating 64-year old music teacher Marston Riley following a fight at Maywood Academy High School that was caught on camera.

Video taken inside the classroom shows a teacher decking a student before the two exchange blows.

Students and an adult can be seen trying to separate the teacher and the teen — but the teacher was relentless. The 14-year old student was taken to a hospital and treated for moderate injuries before he was released.

Witnesses say the fight began when the teacher told the student he was not wearing the proper school uniform. The student came back with a tirade of racist profanity that was recorded on video but is not suitable for air.

Students reached out to CBS2/KCAL9 with their parents' permission to support their teacher – even though they did not witness the clash.

"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.

Greg Jones has lived across the street from the teacher for 16 years. He echoed the remarks.

"To make racial slurs, at your own teacher — that's wrong," he said. "That's not something that should be taught in school. That should be taught at home."

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help with Riley's legal fees. The organizer says he's been "attacked verbally or physically" in the past.

Some parents say that's no excuse.

"I think something needs to be done. That's way out of hand," one parent said.

CBS2/KCAL9 meanwhile obtained another video from a parent depicting an altercation a little over a year ago appearing to show the same teacher involved in a fist fight with a different student.

L.A. Unified School District issued the following statement regarding Friday's incident: "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. Los Angeles Unified is cooperating with law enforcement in investigating this incident. Crisis counselors and additional school police patrols will be at the school on Monday to support our students and staff."

Riley was arrested and booked for child abuse Friday.

He declined an interview with CBS2/KCAL9 after posting bail Saturday.

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