March 19, 2018

California teacher placed on administrative leave after accidentally firing gun during class

14 March 2018, 08:16 | Devin Moran

Students Injured After Teacher’s Gun Goes Off in Class During Safety Demonstration

Teacher's gun

Three students at a California high school were injured when a teacher accidentally fired a gun during class.

Dennis Alexander told his California high school class Tuesday that he was going to check his pistol to be sure it was unloaded before conducting a lesson on disarming an attacker, parent Fermin Gonzales told KSBW. No one was seriously injured.

Alexander was showing the teens how to disarm someone and had the gun pointed up when it went off hitting the ceiling, shattering a section and pieces fell to the floor.

Gonzales said Alexander apologized to the class for mistakenly firing his gun, however, none of the school authorities checked up on all the students post-incident to make sure they were not hurt.

One student suffered an injury to his neck from either bullet fragments or debris falling from the ceiling, Pridgen said. Alexander is a reserve police officer for the Sand City Police Department and while had a permit for the gun, it's illegal for him to possess much less handle it, especially loaded, in a classroom.

An investigation into the incident is still ongoing and some students still need to be interviewed, Cmdr.

UPDATE 5:30pm: MPUSD superintendent PK Diffenbaugh confirms that incident took place during an administration of justice class, a career pathway class that is unique to Seaside High in the school district.

Alexander "accidentally discharged his firearm into the ceiling", said Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen. "We will be looking into that".

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

Alexander had been a reserve Sand City police officer for 11 years. He discovered what had happened when his 17-year-old came home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck.

"Best practice is you don't take live firearms into a classroom", Chief Pridgen said. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed". He was named reserve officer of the year in 2013. Among the proposals advanced is training and arming teachers, an approach favored by President Trump, among others but opposed by a majority of the teachers in the National Education Association, including many who said in an NEA survey that it would make them feel less safe.

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