Seaside, California, USA: Three students were injured after a teacher, Dennis Alexander, who is also the city’s Mayor Pro Tempore and a reserve police officer, accidentally fired a gun inside a Seaside High School classroom on the Monterey Peninsula according to investigators.
According to the City of Seaside website, Alexander, a city council member, also serves as Mayor Pro Tem, meaning he is the acting mayor when the mayor is unavailable. For cities that do not have a position of vice mayor, a city council member is normally appointed as Mayor Pro Tem.
Dennis Alexander was teaching a course on public safety, when his gun went off. He was pointing the gun at the ceiling at the time. Pieces of the ceiling fell to the floor.
A 17-year-old boy was injured when fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged into his neck. The teen did not suffer life-threatening injuries. The two other students had minor injuries.
Teachers cannot legally possess firearms in California classrooms.
Alexander has been placed on administrative leave from both the school and Sand City Police Department.
The school posted a message on its website reading in part,
“The safety and well-being of students and staff are high priorities for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District. Today, an accident occurred in the Administration of Justice class at Seaside High School. During class, the teacher, who is also a reserve police officer, accidentally discharged his firearm during a lesson while it was pointed at the ceiling, and debris from the ceiling then fell.”
In Virginia, Tuesday, a school resource officer accidentally fired his gun inside a middle school in Alexandria during school hours, police say. No one was hurt. The officer was inside his office at George Washington Middle School in the Del Ray neighborhood when he accidentally discharged his service weapon about 9:10 a.m., according to Alexandria police.
The shot was fired as the officer, a five-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, was sitting down in his office, police said.
“I just think it was an accident that happened, and we’re going to investigate it and find out, and we’re going to move forward,” Capt. D.C. Hayes said.
The name of the officer has not been disclosed.
In related news, today is National Walkout Day and students nationwide, as planned, stood up in their classrooms and walked out of their schools for 17 minutes beginning at 10 a.m. in their respective local time zones in order to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17. Students also sat silently with backs to White House for 17 minutes on #NationalWalkoutDay.
In support of National Walkout Day, media giant Viacom said earlier that its networks, including MTV, BET, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, will “suspend regularly scheduled programming for 17 minutes” when 10 a.m. occurs in each time zone and that students will take over MTV’s social media accounts during the protests.
Viacom’s MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central have all later suspended programming for 17 minutes in support of the national student walkout over gun violence.
The protests come 10 days before major “March for Our Lives” protests on Saturday, March 24, in Washington and elsewhere. On March 24, students are expected to amass in Washington and other cities for the March for Our Lives coordinated by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group backed by Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor.
More walkouts are planned on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.