A school district spokeswoman said Wednesday that the teacher, who allegedly accidentally fired his gun inside a Seaside, California, classroom Tuesday, was not authorized to carry a firearm at school. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District spokeswoman Marci McFadden stated that only school resource officers were given the authority to carry guns.
California authorities are also considering criminal charges against the high school teacher. McFadden said Dennis Alexander is “a teacher and was not authorized to carry a firearm on campus.”
She added that school district authorities and police are investigating why Alexander had a firearm in the classroom in the first place and also whether school officials had been in the know of the teacher’s intention to bring a firearm to Seaside high school.
Police stated the teacher was teaching a gun safety lesson for his administration of justice class when his firearm accidentally gone off and injured three students.
As the authorities investigate the incident, Alexander was placed on administrative leave from his teaching job at the school, a spokesperson with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District said Tuesday.
“The teacher has been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the on-going investigation. The safety of your student is always our top priority, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep them safe while they are under our care,” the Superintendent’s Office wrote in a letter to the parents of the students.
“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.”
Teachers in California are not permitted to carry firearms inside the class, even if they possess a carry permit for concealed weapons.
“I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom. We will be looking into that,” Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante added regarding the incident.
Alexander is also a reserve officer with the Sand City Police Department.
“[The teacher] accidentally discharged his firearm into the ceiling,” Chief Abdul D. Pridgen with the Seaside Police Department said.
“Fragments from the bullet struck a student in the neck,” Pridgen said, “Fortunately there were no serious injuries, the student was ultimately transported to the hospital where they’re being checked out.”
Fermin Gonzales, the father of one of the injured students, told KSBW the teacher had informed the students he was aiming the gun at the ceiling so he could check whether it was loaded or not.
“It’s the craziest thing,” Gonzales told the station. “It could have been very bad.”
The father said the boy returned home with wounds to his neck and added, “He’s shaken up, but he’s going to be okay. I’m just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”