A high school in Washington state was thrown into chaos recently when a group of five masked individuals entered the school, running through the hallways and pushing and punching students.
The incident, which occurred at Auburn Riverside High School, led to 500 students being absent from school the following day.
The Auburn Police Department reported that the masked intruders first approached a side door of the school building around 1 p.m. and entered a classroom. Once inside, they ran through the halls, pushing four students and punching another.
Brandy Garber, a concerned parent, shared her daughter’s experience.
“She said everybody started running. They said people came in and were masked and were pushing people out of the way,” Garber said.
Quick action by school administrators helped chase the intruders off campus within less than 40 seconds. The school then went into a “secure-and-teach” lockdown for the rest of the day, with exterior and interior doors locked, and students remaining in their designated classrooms.
The Auburn Police Department believes this incident may be related to a fight on school grounds the previous week, and investigations are ongoing.
School officials are taking the matter seriously, with Auburn Riverside Superintendent Dr. Alan Spicciati stating: “We are going to take some very serious action because when you make choices, there is accountability.”
In the wake of this alarming incident, the school community also received false rumors of a shooting at the school, leading to even more students being pulled out of classes.
Adding to the concern, two fights broke out at the school, prompting further investigations into whether the incidents were connected.
Four students involved in the first fight were removed from campus, and a second fight occurred in the school parking lot, where a BB gun was confiscated from one of the suspects.
To enhance security, the school has increased the presence of police officers on campus, especially during events like the homecoming football game, where four resource officers, six school safety officers and administrators were present.
Jacqualine Boles, a parent of a student at Auburn Riverside High School, believed there should more greater ramifications for the perpetrators.
“I think because there is no punishment, that’s why this happens.”
The safety of students and accountability for those responsible is now a top priority for the school.
The incident also prompted a response from the school’s principal, Janalyn McKeehan, who assured parents that the district was taking the situation seriously and working closely with the police to identify the individuals involved.
“We know these incidents are concerning and holding these individuals accountable and keeping students and staff safe is our highest priority,” McKeehan said.
She further encouraged students and parents to use the anonymous Safe Schools tip line to report concerns.