What an absurd world we live in these days. As students across the country walked out of their classrooms on Wednesday to protest gun laws for National School Walkout Day, news hit that another teacher accidentally fired a gun in his classroom... but this time it was while he was teaching a gun safety lesson, according to the Huffington Post. I mean, talk about astounding irony.
Dennis Alexander, a teacher and reserve police officer in Monterey County, California, was leading a class of high school seniors with a gun safety lesson on Tuesday. According to CNN, Alexander, who is a teacher at Seaside High School in Seaside, California, pointed a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of a classroom of students and accidentally fired. A 17-year-old student was reportedly injured in the neck, either by debris from the ceiling or by a possible bullet fragment, as reported by local news outlet KSBW. Two other students also suffered injuries, but all injuries were reportedly minor.
A spokesperson from the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District told CNN that Alexander has since been placed on administrative leave from his teaching position. It's unclear why Alexander was using a real firearm; one of the students present in the classroom, 17-year-old Fermin Gonzalez, told local news outlet KSBW that normally, a prop gun is used in a public safety lesson. As Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante, who reportedly works with Alexander in his other capacity as a reserve police officer, told the Huffington Post: "I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom. We will be looking into that."
Romper reached out to Seaside High School and Alexander for comment but did not immediately get a response.
It's particularly interesting to find out that Alexander had a loaded firearm on school premises considering he wasn't permitted to have a gun on campus at all, as superintendant of Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Daniel Diffenbaugh told the Huffington Post:
I think a lot of questions are on parents’ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students.
This was the second time that a gun was accidentally discharged in a school this week; also on Tuesday, a school resource officer in Alexandria, Virginia, fired his gun in his office without meaning to at George Washington Middle School, according to the Huffington Post. Alexandria Police were called, and again, thankfully no one was injured.
It's been a tough week for students concerned with gun violence in schools; last week, a 17-year-old girl died after reportedly being accidentally shot by a fellow student at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama. The student is now being tried as an adult for manslaughter, according to CNN, and two other students were also injured.
These shootings come at a time when President Trump has gone on record to suggest a solution to gun violence in schools: arming teachers. Because more guns would most assuredly equal less gun violence, right? It also bears noting that Trump shared this suggestion during a listening session at the White House with victims of the Parkland shooting, which saw a lone gunman enter a school and kill 17 people.
On Wednesday, just 24 hours after two school officials accidentally discharged firearms at two separate schools, students at 2,500 schools across the nation walked out of their classrooms. For 17 minutes, they walked out as a way of honoring the lives of the people who died at the hands of a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They walked out to press for better gun laws, to protect not just themselves but future generations from worrying about gun violence at school and beyond.
Accidental gun violence or otherwise.