A high school football coach has been placed on administrative leave and is possibly facing criminal charges after he was caught on camera punching a student in the stomach, police said.
In the cellphone video, Beaumont High School football coach Will Martin punches one of his players right in the gut, eliciting gasps and laughter from the other students in the room.
The video was obtained by NBC4 through a parent who wished to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation against his son.
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Punching is how Coach Martin disciplines his football players, according to the parent's son. If they do anything to upset the coach, he makes them put their hands above their head, close their eyes, and he punches them in the stomach.
This has allegedly happened with dozens of players, according to the student.
Beaumont Unified School District turned over the video to police on Oct. 3 for investigation of possible criminal charges.
"On October 3, 2017, the Beaumont Unified School District administration was informed of allegations of misconduct by a Beaumont High School teacher. The teacher was immediately put on administrative leave and the district is conducting a thorough investigation," district spokeswoman Francinni Zabata said in a news release, adding further details were not available due to the ongoing investigation with police.
"We want to reassure parents that our No. 1 priority is the safety and well-being of our students, and that the Beaumont Unified School District takes reports of teacher misconduct very seriously," the release stated.
The district is committed to providing quality educational opportunities for each student in a safe and secure environment. As professional educators, we hold high standards of conduct, and expect all staff to act with integrity, perform at exemplary levels, and be held accountable for results."
The video has caused mixed reactions from parents. Jessica Taylor, whose son is on the football team, said she thinks the punch was blown out of proportion.
"If it's so bad, why are the kids laughing? Why are the kids thinking it's funny?" she said. "I don't see a problem with it. My son says there are drills where you get hit like that, and my son says, 'Mom, it's football.'"