California high school teacher who fired gun while teaching firearm safety, injuring several students, resigns
Dennis Alexander, who is a city council member, was also a reserve police officer but he also resigned from that position after the incident
A teacher who accidentally fired a gun inside a Northern California classroom while teaching firearm safety last month has now resigned his teaching job, school officials said.
Dennis Alexander, who taught “administration of justice”, submitted his resignation to the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District on March 29. It will be effective at the end of the school year, district spokeswoman Marci McFadden said.
Alexander said he was pointing the gun at the ceiling of the Seaside High School classroom to make sure it was not loaded when the weapon discharged.
No one sustained serious injuries, but some students were hit by fallen ceiling debris, police said. The father of one boy at the time reported that his son had a bullet fragment in his neck.
Alexander remains on administrative leave while the internal disciplinary process continues, McFadden said. Alexander, who is a Seaside City Council member, was also a reserve Sand City police officer but he also resigned that position after the incident.
Police officers “are obligated to handle firearms safely. They are not supposed to display firearms unnecessarily. You are not supposed to allow other people to handle your firearm,” said Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante.
Many students in the coastal community about 115 miles (185 kilometres) south of San Francisco supported their well-liked teacher, organising rallies and circulating a petition to keep Alexander at the school.
“We know Alexander’s worth and meaning, that’s what truly matters. He will always be a part of our Spartan family, no matter what,” said student Cleve Waters.
While California has a state law banning teachers from bringing guns to school, Alexander was legally allowed to carry firearms on campus because he was a sworn peace officer.
Alexander has not responded to several requests for comment but he made an emotional apology during a city council meeting last month.