California teacher accidentally fires gun in class, injures students

California teacher accidentally fires gun in class, injures students

Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer, city councilman, and teacher at Seaside High School about 110 miles south of San Francisco was pointing a gun at the ceiling around 1:20 p.m. when he accidentally fired it, according to the Salinas Californian.

Everyone in the classroom was stunned, and the teacher, who is a reserve officer for the Sand City Police Department, apologized.

Fermin Gonzales said his 17-year-old son was injured during the incident and had to be taken to the hospital for bullet fragments in his neck.

Alexander was placed on administrative leave from his teaching job and he was also placed on administrative leave at the Sand City Police Department.

Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen told the Monterey County Weekly that a male student was "struck in the neck by "debris or fragmentation" from something overhead.' " Pridgen said whatever hit the student was not a bullet.

The injury wasn't serious, according to police. "It could have been very bad", Gonzales said, adding that the teacher was about to demonstrate how to disarm a person. "I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom", Ferrante told KSBW.

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'He's shaken up, but he's going to be OK, Gonzales said. The safety of your student is always our top priority, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep them safe while they are under our care'.

Alexander had been teaching a room of 16- and 17-year-old students about public safety awareness, police said.

"We're looking into any violation of city ordinance or the penal code and we'll determine whether or not there are any applicable charges", Pridgen told the Mercury News.

Teachers in California are not allowed to carry firearms inside the class, even if they have a carry permit for concealed weapons.

The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh sent a letter to parents of students at Seaside High School informing them of what happened and said counseling services are available. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed". His track record was described as "positive and professional" and he was also made the 2013 Reserve Office of the Year.

The incident comes amid a national debate on school safety and whether teachers should be armed on school campuses.

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