A teacher, who is also a reserve police officer trained in the use of firearms, accidentally discharged his gun in the classroom injuring three students on Wednesday. Ironically this incident happened during a “firearms safety course” at the Seaside High School in Monterey County, California.
A 17-year-old male student sustained a non-life-threatening injury when the gun accidentally went off and he was hit by fragments of a ricocheted bullet. Those fragments were embedded in his neck, according to the father of the student. Fermin Gonzales told reporters that he only learned about his son’s injury when the teen came home from school, which is something he finds upsetting today. As you can see in the Twitter post below in this article, there is a red welt-like dot on the student’s neck where he was reportedly hit with a fragment.
The Seaside Police Department released a statement reporting that no one suffered “serious injuries,” but one teen suffered “moderate injuries” when the bullet from the teacher’s gun ricocheted off the ceiling leaving a bullet fragment lodged in his neck, according to KSBW8 News.
The teacher was pointing the gun at the ceiling when it discharged causing debris to fall, which was what wounded the two other students, according to NBC News. They were not injured by the bullet itself, but by the falling ceiling debris, which the bullet caused.
The teacher, Dennis Alexander, was pointing his semiautomatic weapon at the ceiling when it discharged. Alexander, who is also a math teacher along with being a reserve police officer for the Sand City Police Department, may have violated a city ordinance by bringing the gun to school.
Alexander, who is also a selectman for the town on top of the other hats he wears, told his class he was checking to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded at the time it went off, reports Gonzales, the father of the teen who was hit with the bullet fragment.
“It’s the craziest thing. It could have been very bad,” Gonzales said. The teacher was going to use the gun to show the class how to disarm someone after he checked it to make sure it wasn’t loaded. After the gun went off, the classroom was full of “stunned” students and the teacher apologized for this incident.
According to Gonzales, no one checked on the kids in the classroom to make sure they were unharmed and class resumed as usual. It wasn’t until Gonzales’ son came home that his father learned of the injury. The boy’s parents said they were shocked to see him come home from school with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck.
The teen was shaken up, but he was O.K. after they rushed him to the hospital where X-rays were taken. Gonzales reports, “I’m just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”
Alexander is on administrative leave at the school and also at the Sand City Police Department from his position as a reserve police officers. He has been on that force as a reserve officer for the past 11 years. The police are investigating the incident today.
It is not legal for teachers to bring firearms into the classrooms in California even if they have a concealed weapon permit from the state. This comes on the heels of the debate over Trump’s plan to arm certain teachers across the classrooms in America. This plan was introduced after the Florida high school shooting massacre, which is a hot-button issue today.
According to KSBW8 News, social media users are already using this incident as an example of why arming teachers can also be dangerous.
A comment on the KSBW Facebook about the Seaside incident said, “This is clear example why teachers shouldn’t have a gun. Accidents happen, even to people with experience.” Another Facebook user wrote on the KSBW Facebook page, “Oh great.. Ya let’s give ALL the teachers guns. What could possibly go wrong?”
Those against Trump’s plan to arm the teachers had a lot to say after this incident made the headlines, here are a few examples below from Twitter.
The only way to tackle gun violence is with a public health approach & limitations on firearms.— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) March 14, 2018
The way NOT to deal with it it is by giving guns to teachers. See this: teacher accidentally shoots student & school covers it up: https://t.co/O7ufGvk6bP