A California Teacher Almost Shot a Student, Proving We Don't Need Armed Educators

Seaside High School in Monterey County, California, placed teacher Dennis Alexander on administrative leave after he accidentally discharged his gun in his classroom Tuesday.

Though Alexander—a reserve police officer—primarily teaches math, it was during his Administration of Justice class that he pointed his gun at the ceiling to “make sure his gun wasn’t loaded,” according to KSBW 8.

The only reported injury, Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen told Monterey County Weekly, was of a 17-year-old student hit in the neck by “debris or fragmentation” that fell from the ceiling. The student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW he had to rush his bloodied son to the hospital after he came home from school with bullet fragments in his neck. “He's shaken up, but he's going to be OK,” Gonzales reported. “I'm just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”

After the incident occurred, at approximately 1:20pm, school remained in session. Not until Tuesday evening did Seaside High School’s administration send a letter to parents, telling them, “Upon learning of the incident, our Human Resources department, school site administration and the Seaside Police Department immediately began investigating the incident, including interviewing students in the class.”

Brian Ferrante, chief of the Sand City Police Department, which also placed Alexander on administrative leave, told KSBW that he had “concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom.” It is illegal, regardless of whether a teacher has a concealed carry permit, to bring a gun into a school in the state of California.

“We will be looking into that,” Ferrante added.

The incident has garnered national attention as the latest counterargument to President Trump’s proposal to arm teachers to prevent school shootings. In a White House “listening session” with gun violence survivors last month following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump suggested loosening concealed carry laws to allow ostensibly adept teachers to bring their guns to school.

In a string of tweets at the time, Trump held up as exemplars the “20% of teachers” who, like Alexander, have “military or special training experience” and “would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.