School worker fired for slamming teen to ground speaks

Rueben Riley
Rueben Riley, the former Wyoming Public School's dean of students, speaking at an event on Saturday, April 9, 2016.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time since he was fired, we are hearing from the former Wyoming Public School’s Dean of Students.

Rueben Riley was fired the day after the dispute, according to a statement by the district.

The incident happened January 26. School surveillance video obtained by 24 Hour News 8 shows Rueben Riley taking a disruptive sophomore out of a classroom on Jan. 26.

The video shows them struggle in the hallway until Riley pushes the 15-year-old boy into a gymnasium, where he throws the teenager to the ground.

The video shows a staff member running over to break up the dispute.

However, not everyone believes Riley should have been let go from the district over the incident.

Saturday afternoon dozens of Riley’s friends, family and supporters gathered in a southeast side church to show their support for him and present him with an award.

“It says Rueben Riley Jr. To the world you are a teacher to the students you’re a hero. I thank you for your service sir,” Johnny Burress, who organized the event said.

There was a round of applause and a standing ovation when Riley entered the room at the church.

“I want you guys to know that Rueben Riley will never do anything to let you down. Even in some judgmental things that have happened where you may say I would have done things differently. You weren’t there. You weren’t presented with that situational. I’m going to let you know I’m always going to represent my community,” Riley said.

It’s the first time since the incident came public Rueben Riley has spoken in the presence of media.

“There were some peaks and valleys in this whole ordeal but what stayed is my faith. And my faith of knowing who I am and what I represent and who have I have in my corner,” Riley said.

After he was fired, several student demanded he be reinstate and Saturday was another sign many in the community support him.

“It’s been pretty difficult for him. His reputation means a lot to him, this community means a lot to him. So the idea of having let the community down or having let down the people rooting for him was very difficult for him to deal with,” Diana Riley, Rueben’s sister said.

According to court documents, Riley pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery. He was sentenced to six months of probation and has to pay $935 in fines.

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