It’s been a rough month of October at Auburn Riverside High School with masked individuals punching students in the hallways and two previous fights.
Five masked individuals stormed the premises of the school on Oct. 16, running through the hallways and pushing students and punching one.
The Auburn School District has increased security measures temporarily in response to the incident as administrators, school resource officers, and the Auburn Police Department conduct investigations of the incident.
The incident involved five students wearing medical masks and hoodies that ran through the hallways of Auburn Riverside High School for 30 to 40 seconds, pushing kids and punching one, prior to administrators directing them off campus, said Kolby Crossley, public information officer for the Auburn Police Department. A student uninvolved with the five suspect students had let the students into the building prior to the incident.
The Oct. 16 incident served as a carryover incident from two fights that broke out on Oct. 13.
Auburn Riverside High School administrators have sent multiple emails to families of students over the weeks following both incidents.
On Oct. 13, following the first initial fight, Riverside principal Janalyn McKeehan sent an email addressing two related fights that had occurred on the campus that day.
According to McKeehan’s Oct. 13 email, a fight had broken out between four students at about 10:30 a.m., resulting in the removal of the students involved from campus. In a related incident, after school, a few of the involved students returned to campus with additional non-students, and another fight occurred.
A school resource officer, the Auburn Police Department, school administrators, and the Valley Regional fire department responded to the fight, according to McKeehan’s email. One student who was being cared for by the fire department was discovered to have a BB gun in their possession.
The following week, McKeehan sent an additional email to address the incident involving the five students running through the halls while pushing and punching students.
According to the email, after the incident at about 1 p.m. and the individuals ran outside, McKeehan made the decision to put the school in a “secure and teach” mode until the end of the school day.
In a “secure and teach” mode, the schools shut and lock exterior and interior doors, limit hall passes, and do not move from period to period, providing the school more control on who is coming and going through the entrance and exit points in the building, according to the email. Additionally, the school had a police presence from 2 p.m. until the buses left campus.
Additional security measures that continued through Tuesday and Wednesday included increased police presence, increased school supervision, and a school resource officer on campus.
The student who was struck was not seriously injured in the incident, according to an Oct. 20 email from McKeehan to families.
The school also took extra precautions to provide more security during the school’s Homecoming assembly and Homecoming tailgate, football game, and dance, including increased security presence and school resource officers.
Rumors also circulated regarding potential disruptions of the weekend’s Homecoming festivities.
“None of the rumors have been substantiated. However, I want you to know we are taking the security of the events seriously,” stated an email from McKeehan sent to families on Oct. 18.
On Oct. 19, an email was sent to families regarding multiple reports to the school’s anonymous tip line about a rumored school shooting being circulated on social media.
“We do not believe there is a credible threat,” the email stated.
Investigation into the Oct. 16 incident continues.
Both the Auburn Police Department and school administrators have identified three of the five students who entered the school on Oct. 16.
“We have identified three of the five who entered the school. We cannot provide discipline information, but the students are being held accountable for their actions. We continue to work with law enforcement and in our system to identify the other two,” McKeehan stated in an email to families on Oct. 20.
Auburn police are currently looking at potential charges, Crossley said.
“The administrative team, our School Resource Officers and the Auburn Police Department have been working on identifying those responsible and holding them accountable,” McKeehan said in an email.