School Teacher's Gun Goes Off In Class, One Student Injured

On Tuesday, Bearing Arms reported on the negligence of a school resource officer and a Michigan sheriff and how their irresponsibility with firearms is influencing the debate on whether or not school teachers should be allowed to carry on the job. Now a California teacher, who is also a reserve police officer, is in trouble after bringing a firearm to school and accidentally firing it. One student was injured.

Here’s more on the story from The Washington Post:

A teacher who is also a reserve police officer trained in firearm use accidentally discharged a gun Tuesday at Seaside High School in Monterey County, Calif., during a class devoted to public safety. A male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The weapon, which was not described, was pointed at the ceiling, according to a statement from the school, and debris fell from the ceiling.

Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen told the Monterey County Weekly that a male student was “struck in the neck by ‘debris or fragmentation’ from something overhead.” Pridgen said whatever hit the student was not a bullet.

However, the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW 8 that it was his understanding that fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged in the boy’s neck. The father said the teacher told the class before pointing the gun at the ceiling that he was doing so to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded, something that can be determined visually.

Regardless of whether the student’s neck injury came from the falling debris or the ricocheting bullet, this incident should have never happened.

Supposedly, the math teacher, Dennis Alexander, completed his last gun safety training a year ago. Apparently, that training didn’t involve telling him not to take a loaded firearm out in the middle of class to do “demonstrations.”

The reasons for why the teacher had his firearm out are bizarre and differ depending on the person relaying the account, but they all appear to be related.

Exactly why the teacher was displaying the weapon at all was not entirely clear. Police said he was “providing instruction related to public safety.”

The father told KSBW that the teacher was preparing to use the gun to show how to disarm someone.

Daniel “PK” Diffenbaugh, superintendent of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, told the Weekly that the incident occurred during the administration of justice class, a career track course offered by the school. “Clearly, we will revisit this incident to ensure that something like this would never happen again.”

Diffenbaugh noted that state law and school policy forbids carrying firearms on campus without authorization. Alexander, he said, was not authorized.

The superintendent noted that California’s state law and the school’s policy forbids firearms from being on campus without authorization. Alexander, of course, did not have that authorization. If the report that the school was running an “administration of justice class” is accurate, that would explain why a firearm was present. But it does not answer the question of why Alexander thought it would be okay to bring his loaded gun to teach his students.

With Second Amendment supporters and law-abiding gun owners supporting the idea of arming responsible teachers who have had proper training, stories like this do not help the cause. If teachers are going to carry on school grounds, it will be the job of the school and local law enforcement to ensure that person is competent and will take all the necessary precautions.

Let on-duty law enforcement officers do demonstrations for classes. Allow the teachers to do their job and teach. The argument is that teachers should be allowed to possess a gun to defend their students from an outside threat when they become the last line of defense. Teachers should not carry so that they can do “show and tell.” Again, the job of teachers is, first and foremost, to teach. However, one can still support arming teachers and recognize at the same time that having teachers do anything else with a firearm besides using it when they are the only person standing between a school shooter and two dozen children is a recipe for disaster.