New York high school student beat principal because his mom died, lawyer says

Matthew Tossman, principal of Manhattan Early College School for Advertising, is seen in a school photo.

Manhattan Early College School for Advertising

Last Updated Oct 27, 2016 3:36 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- A principal of a New York City public high school who was beaten by a student after asking him to turn down the music in his headphones is recovering.

Dr. Matthew Tossman addressed a letter to his students at Manhattan Early College School for Advertising on Tuesday thanking them for their support. He also said he’ll be back as soon as possible.

The incident happened Monday at the school inside the Murry Bergtraum High School building in lower Manhattan, CBS New York station WCBS-TV reports.

Tossman had asked an 18-year-old student on the campus to turn down his music-blaring headphones.

According to the Department of Education, the principal was attempting to pick up the headphones from the ground when he was punched repeatedly in the face.

The student, identified as Luis Penzo, was arraigned on assault charges. His lawyer said he was acting out because his mother died of a brain aneurysm last year.

Another student told the New York Post the school has gotten “out of control.”