While students across the country are busy staging one of the largest protests against gun violence in recent memory, reports of a shooting in Northern California have called into question President Trump’s plan to arm teachers. According to CNN, a teacher accidentally fired a handgun and injured a student during a public safety class at Seaside High School in Seaside, California. Dennis Alexander, the teacher who also happens to be Seaside City’s mayor pro tem and a Sand City Police Department reserve officer, has been placed on administrative leave following the incident.
Sand City Police Chief Abdul Pridgen said at one point during the lesson, Alexander “pointed his gun into the ceiling and accidentally fired it.” As a result, “a 17-year-old student was injured by a bullet fragment or by debris that fell off the ceiling.” The student’s injuries were thankfully deemed “superficial” and therefore “not life threatening,” according to the police. Even so, and despite Alexander’s apparent qualifications, officials are demanding to know what happened and why:
“I think a lot of questions on parents’ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students,” Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh told CNN affiliate KSBW. “Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed.”
The injured student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, acknowledged it was an accident but said “somebody could have died” instead. “I was kinda leaning toward having armed people in school in case something happened. After today, I get why people say there should be no guns in schools,” he said, adding: “If there’s an accident — people could die. If it’s just one, that’s more than enough.” In a separate incident in late February, an armed teacher at Dalton High School in Georgia was arrested after he barricaded himself in a classroom and fired off several shots. Thankfully, no one was injured as a result.