Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer, city councilman, and teacher at Seaside High School about 110 miles south of San Francisco was pointing a gun at the ceiling around 1:20 p.m. when he accidentally fired it, according to the Salinas Californian.
In an email to parents, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District said, "Upon learning of the incident, our Human Resources department, school site administration and the Seaside Police Department immediately began investigating the incident, including interviewing students in the class". The teacher reportedly apologized to the stunned group of students.
Alexander has taught the course in the past but Pridgen said he did not know if he had ever brought a live firearm to the school before.
The gun was pointed towards the ceiling when it fired causing pieces of the ceiling to fall on the ground.
Students who survived the shooting have become vocal advocates for gun control, demanding that lawmakers take action to keep their schools safe.
"He's shaken up, but he's going to be OK", Gonzales told KSBW. "I'm just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it", the father told the TV station. Scheduled classes resumed shortly after the incident.
Gonzales added: "It's the craziest thing".
Gonzales claimed Alexander told his class he wanted to be sure that his gun wasn't loaded.
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The teacher was identified as Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer for Sand City, according to a press release from the Seaside Police Department.
Alexander has been placed on administrative leave as an investigation into the incident continues.
It was not clear if the he was placed on a paid or unpaid leave.
Even with a permit, teachers across California are not allowed to carry firearms.
"I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom".
The school district sent out a letter to parents saying the students are all expected to be OK and that the teacher is facing disciplinary action. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed".
While guns are not allowed on campus, law enforcement officials are allowed to be armed, Pridgen said.
Alexander had been a reserve Sand City police officer for 11 years. He also serves as a Seaside City Council member and a Red Cross volunteer.