As thousands of students walked out of their schools on Wednesday to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation, three other students were healing from wounds inflicted when a teacher’s firearm accidentally discharged in a California classroom.
The teacher, Dennis Alexander, who is also a city councilman in Seaside, Calif., was showing the students a gun on Tuesday during his advanced public safety class at Seaside High School when the gun accidentally went off, Marci McFadden, a spokeswoman for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Mr. Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired, she said, causing pieces of the ceiling to fall to the floor. Ms. McFadden said that California law and district policy prohibit teachers from bringing guns on campus.
Cmdr. Nick Borges of the Seaside Police Department said in an email on Wednesday that nobody suffered serious injuries, however, a piece of bullet shrapnel ricocheted and hit one 17-year-old on the neck, and two other students were also hit by debris.
The 17-year-old boy’s parents told the television station KSBW that they took him to a hospital for X-rays after he returned home.
“He’s shaken up, but he’s going to be O.K.,” the boy’s father, Fermin 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.”
When asked why the parents had not been informed about the accident, Ms. McFadden said she could not comment because the matter was under investigation.
Mr. Alexander’s class, which includes 32 juniors and seniors, has been offered for a couple of years as one of the school’s career technical education offerings, Ms. McFadden said. She said she did not know whether students are normally shown guns during the class.
Mr. Alexander was placed on administrative leave at both Seaside High School and the Sand City Police Department, where he works about four hours a week as a reserve police officer whenever the department is short-handed, Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Mr. Alexander, who has been employed by the school district since 1994, did not immediately respond to messages on Wednesday.
Across the country, another school was also investigating a weapon that discharged accidentally this week. The Alexandria Police Department in Virginia said that a school resource officer accidentally fired his gun inside his office at George Washington Middle School on Tuesday morning. Nobody was hurt, the police said.
The officer, whose name was not released, is a five-year veteran of the Police Department and has been placed on administrative leave during its investigation of the episode, the police said.
Both accidents occurred just days after President Trump vowed to push ahead on his proposal to arm school employees with guns, a controversial idea that would entail partnering with local law enforcement to provide teachers and other school officials with firearms training after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.
“Cowards will only go where there is no deterrent!” Mr. Trump said in a tweet on Monday.
The latest mass shooting prompted thousands of students at hundreds of schools to walk out of class on Wednesday to protest gun violence, the culmination of weeks of public outrage at the glacial pace of gun reform, a topic that has remained prominent in the news largely through the efforts of a group of social media-savvy students from Stoneman Douglas.
In Washington, where the gun debate has remained static, Mr. Trump has not indicated a willingness to disrupt the way things stand. On Monday, he discarded a proposal to raise the age limit to purchase rifles. “Not much political support (to put it mildly),” Mr. Trump said in a tweet.
Instead, Mr. Trump has advocated improving reporting to the national background check system — a step that is backed by the National Rifle Association.