A California football coach was placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced of him punching a student in the stomach as punishment. 

Football coach Will Martin of Beaumont High School was shown hitting an unidentified student in front of a crowd October 3. After the coach punches the student in the stomach, some students are heard laughing. The school launched an independent investigation after placing Martin on leave. Police are also investigating the incident to see if any criminal charges are needed.  It is not likely Martin will coach football this season.

The parent who submitted the video requested anonymity for his son's safety, but said the coach usually disciplined other players in the same way, reportedly telling students to lift their hands and close their eyes before hitting them in the stomach. The parents of the student in the video were not bothered by the coach's actions and said they were typical. Other parents have shown support for Coach Martin’s actions.

“If it’s so bad, why are the kids laughing? Why are the kids thinking it’s funny?” Beaumont football mother Jessica Taylor said to Los Angeles NBC-affiliate KNBC Friday. “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.’”

Jeff Furtado, the father of a student at Beaumont High School, called Martin a “great human being” and a “leader in the classroom, on the field, everything.” Another parent, Mando Cuellar, referred to Martin as a “man of God.” 

“He barely touched the kid, they were horse playing. I’ve seen the video and you can totally see him smiling there,” Cuellar said to KNBC. “The kids are there, my son’s there, they all laughed afterwards. It’s something they obviously do.”

Beaumont Unified School District said it was made aware of the accusations against Coach Martin and it would be conducting an investigation. Beaumont Unified School District spokeswoman Francinni Zabata released a statement about the incident.

“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 district is committed to providing quality educational opportunities for each student is a safe and secure environment,” Zabata said. “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.”