Dennis Alexander is a teacher at Seaside High School, California who had an accident in class. Alexander accidentally fired a gun while teaching gun safety, causing minor injuries to a few students. He’s now at the center of a heated debate about arming teachers. Read about the incident here in Dennis Alexander’s wiki.
Who Is Dennis Alexander?
Nothing about Dennis Alexander’s background raises any red flags. The teacher is highly regarded by his students and peers.
He has prior gun training and teaches administration of justice class at Seaside High School in Monterey County. Most of his students are teens who want to join law enforcement when they graduate.
One of his colleagues said that his class doesn’t have adequate space. However, he asked to teach this class because several students wished to opt for it.
Besides teaching, he served as a reserve police officer at the Sand City Police Department for 11 years. His track record in law enforcement has been nothing but upstanding.
He was also a member of the Seaside City Council. As a city official, he’s part of the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) and briefly served as a Mayor Pro Tem.
Additionally, he’s a Red Cross volunteer who helped the community during the Tassajara wildfire in 2015.
Accidental Firing in Class
Alexander was teaching an administration of justice class on Wednesday (March 14) when he accidentally discharged his firearm. According to reports, he was using the gun to demonstrate how to disarm someone.
He reportedly wanted to ensure that the gun wasn’t loaded. He pointed it at the ceiling and the gun accidentally went off.
The bullet hit the ceiling, causing debris to fall and injure two teens. Fragments from the ricocheted bullet was lodged in a 17-year-old student’s neck.
Alexander reportedly apologized and continued with the class. The gunshot sound reportedly caused panic for a while. But school resumed as usual.
Fermin Gonzales told local media that his son came home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck. The horrified parents rushed him to the hospital. Gonzales added that he was shocked that parents weren’t notified about the incident.
Gonzales said his son is shaken but is doing okay. Except for the three students who suffered minor injuries, there were no other casualties reported.
He Was Placed on Leave
After the incident, Alexander was placed on leave both by the school and the Sand City Police Department. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District sent a letter to parents saying that they are investigating the matter.
The letter further stated that counseling sessions will be provided to students who need it. The letter added that details won’t be divulged during the investigation.
This incident sparked a debate on social media about arming teachers. Since the devastating Florida high school shooting on February 14, many have been divided over giving teachers firearms.
In California, teachers aren’t legally allowed to carry firearms in school, even with a concealed carry permit. School authorities are looking into why Alexander was carrying a loaded gun in school.
His Students Want Him Back
March 14 coincidentally marked the day when thousands of students across the country walked out of classrooms to protest against gun violence. Dennis Alexander is now at the heart of this debate.
While he hasn’t suffered backlash particularly, he’s being used to exemplify the cons of letting teachers carry guns. Many have expressed that similar unintentional firings will become a common problem if teachers are armed.
No matter the outcry, Alexander’s students are rallying in support of him. The Seaside High School swim team changed their Twitter bio to “We stand with Mr. Alexander.”
— SHS Swim Team (@SpartanSwimmers) March 14, 2018
The team even clarified what happened in that gun safety demo on Wednesday. They said that the firearm and bullets Alexander used were not real. They explained that the damage was caused because the ceiling is “paper-thin.”
The tweet further elaborated that Alexander is experienced and wasn’t careless with a firearm. The students started a petition to save Dennis Alexander’s job and support mental health resources. Dennis Alexander hasn’t commented on the incident so far.