A teen gunman’s rampage killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month ago, sparking an intense national debate over gun control—with President Trump suggesting that arming teachers might be the solution.
But judging by just the past few days, maybe school kids should be fearing their teachers, too.
On Tuesday, teachers in California and Virginia accidentally set off their firearms inside schools. On Monday, a sheriff’s loaded weapon was discovered in a middle-school bathroom in Michigan after he mistakenly left it behind.
A 17-year-old boy was hit in the neck by bullet fragments Tuesday during a gun-safety course in a Monterey County, California, classroom after a teacher and city councilman accidentally fired his semi-automatic handgun into the ceiling, the Monterey County Herald reported.
Dennis Alexander, who also works as a reserve officer for the Sand City Police Department, injured three students in the incident, after the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling, the newspaper reported. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.
“It’s the craziest thing. It could have been very bad,” the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW-TV.
“He’s shaken up, but he's going to be OK,” Gonzales told the TV station.
Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen told the Herald that the city is looking into applicable charges for Alexander, but has not made a decision.
Just a few hours earlier in the school day, in Alexandria, Virginia, a school resource officer accidentally fired his gun inside a middle school. No one was hurt when it went off, around 9:10 a.m. at George Washington Middle School, according to the local NBC affiliate.
The officer, a five-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, was reportedly sitting in his office in the 1,500-student school when he mistakenly fired the weapon.
“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 told the TV station, noting that the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.
Interim Superintendent Lois Berlin told reporters she is opposed to arming teachers, and that incidents like the ones on Tuesday demonstrate why.
“We had this happen with someone who’s a highly trained officer. I think that speaks for itself,” she said.
Meanwhile, in Isabella County, Michigan, a sheriff apologized after his gun was found in a bathroom at a middle school Monday, according to a local CBS affiliate. A student found the loaded weapon before class and reported it to a teacher.
Sheriff Michael Main reportedly set down the weapon in a stall and forgot his “back up gun” while changing into his uniform before an event.
“It definitely could’ve” ended in tragedy, admitted Shephard Police Chief Luke Sawyer, in an interview with the station. “I mean, you have an unsecured firearm.”
“It is what it is,” Sawyer told reporters. “It happened, and now we are dealing with it.”
The sheriff apologized Tuesday.
“In the 20 years of law-enforcement service, I have never left a weapon anywhere,” he said in a statement.
“I have no excuse,” he added. “I have worked diligently my entire career to protect people, especially our youth. However, I have failed to do just that, and I’m devastated with my lack of accountability in this matter.”