Dennis Alexander was teaching justice at Seaside High School, California on March 14 when an accident occurred. He accidentally fired a gun while checking to see if it was loaded. There were no serious injuries reported, and the class continued without a hitch. But Alexander has since suffered the backlash. Read more about this accidental shooting here.
Accidental Firing During Gun Safety Class
Dennis Alexander was teaching gun safety for an administration of justice class at Seaside High School on March 14. He was a reserve officer for the Sand City Police Department for 11 years and trained in handling firearms.
During the class, Alexander pointed the gun at the ceiling when it went off. Debris fell, hitting two teens. A third student was hit in the neck by fragments from the ricocheting bullet.
Seaside Police Department said that no serious injuries were reported. Alexander apologized to students and continued with the class.
Alexander was teaching a class on how to disarm someone. He said he wanted to make sure the gun wasn’t loaded when it went off.
Fermin Gonzales was shocked when his 17-year-old son returned home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments lodged in his neck. The boy was rushed to the hospital.
“He’s shaken up, but he’s going to be OK,” Gonzales told the media, “I’m just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”
Alexander is gun-trained with an exceptional record as a reserve police officer. He is also a Red Cross volunteer who helped out during the 2014 Tassajara wildfire.
After the incident, he was placed on administrative leave, both from his teaching position at Seaside High School and at the Sand City Police Department.
The school sent a letter to all parents of Seaside High School students. The letter said that the incident is being investigated and no details will be disclosed during it.
MPUSD is reporting no one was injured when a teacher accidentally discharged a firearm in class today. A letter has been sent to Seaside High School parents and I’ve included a screenshot of that letter below. The teacher, who is not being identified, was placed on leave. pic.twitter.com/hmd6Q504gq
— Caitlin Conrad (@CaitlinKSBW) March 13, 2018
Since the incident was reported, social media has been abuzz about a teacher carrying a gun. California state doesn’t legally allow teachers to carry a firearm, even if they have a concealed permit.
The issue of arming teachers has been an ongoing debate since the deadly massacre at a Florida high school on February 14.
Many have voiced that this incident proves that teachers shouldn’t be armed. If a trained individual can accidentally fire a gun, Internet denizens believe that such accidental firings would occur more often should teachers be armed.
Authorities and concerned parents are asking why Alexander was carrying a gun in the classroom at all. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh said, “Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed.”
Students Rally behind Their Teacher
Dennis Alexander’s students don’t believe there was any wrongdoing on their teacher’s part. The school’s swim team changed its Twitter bio to “We stand with Mr. Alexander.”
In a tweet, the team addressed all questions about the incident that were not reported. The students clarified that neither the gun nor the bullet was real. The debris, they claim, fell because the ceiling is paper thin.
— SHS Swim Team (@SpartanSwimmers) March 14, 2018
The students only have words of praise for Alexander. They said that he teaches youth who wish to become police officers upon graduating. Despite not having adequate space to teach his administration of justice course, he takes the class because of the high demand by students.
They added that he did not handle the gun carelessly and the school is a safe zone. Contrary to claims by a parent, they said no student was critically injured.
The students started a petition to save Dennis Alexander’s job and support mental health resources.
Sign the petition. Show up. Stand out. (We apologize for those who felt uncomfortable with the other logo on the flyer, we understand completely) pic.twitter.com/t8I6BzO7cv
— Seaside High ASB (@SeasideHighASB) March 15, 2018