Police investigating Madera High School football coach for allegedly hitting student

Madera High football coach Bonner Cunnings, center.
Madera High football coach Bonner Cunnings, center. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

The Madera Police Department is investigating Madera High School varsity head football coach Bonner Cunnings for allegedly hitting a junior varsity player before practice on Oct. 12, police said.

Cmdr. Dino Lawson said police were alerted about the alleged battery on Oct. 14. Detectives are interviewing witnesses and checking for possible surveillance footage of the incident. Cunnings has not been arrested or charged with a crime, but Lawson said he initially refused to give a statement to investigators.

Madera Unified School District Superintendent Ed Gonzalez said the district’s athletic department learned of the incident on Oct. 14. A witness told his parents, who notified the parents of the alleged victim. The victim’s parents called police and the district.

Gonzalez said Cunnings was placed on paid administrative leave until the criminal investigation and the district’s own investigation have been completed. He added that the district is nearly finished looking into the case but does not want to rush to any judgment.

“We take this allegation very seriously,” Gonzalez said. “The health and safety of our students is a paramount priority.”