As a controversial idea to arm teachers is pushed, and students gear up for gun control demonstrations across the nation, a California story lends unsettling context. Per KSBW, a teacher at Seaside High School in Monterey County (also 2013's reserve officer of the year for the Sand City PD and trained in firearms, per the Washington Post) was demonstrating "public safety" Tuesday for his administration of justice class with a semiautomatic handgun. But as Dennis Alexander was handling the weapon, it fired while pointed upward, sending the bullet ricocheting off the ceiling, Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen tells the Monterey Herald. Pridgen says one student suffered non-life-threatening wounds to his neck from either falling debris or "fragmentation"—not from a bullet, per the Monterey County Weekly—and that class went on after the dust literally settled.
KSBW reports two other students also had minor injuries. "It's the craziest thing. It could have been very bad," the dad of the 17-year-old student with the hurt neck says, adding school officials never checked to see if any students were injured, and that he and his son's mother were the ones who noticed his bloody shirt and neck injuries when he got home. Alexander, meanwhile, who's been a reserve officer for 11 years, has been placed on leave from both the school and the Sand City PD. "I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom," that department's chief says. Seaside's Pridgen tells the Herald: "We're looking into any violation of city ordinance or the penal code and we'll determine whether or not there are any applicable charges." KSBW notes California teachers aren't allowed to bring firearms into classrooms, even with concealed carry permits. (Read more school shooting stories.)