The Auburn Police Department said that on Monday 16 October, five masked people approached a side door of Auburn Riverside High School at around 1pm and entered a classroom.
The masked intruders ran through corridoors and pushed four students and punched one other, Auburn police told Fox News.
School officials were able to chase the intruders from school grounds, police said. The district said that the masked intruders were in the school for less than 40 seconds.
However the following day, some 532 students were absent from the school, officials said, with parents too frightened to send their children back.
“We had an incident on Monday that has been widely publicized that has contributed to the number of students absent at that school [Tuesday],” a spokesperson from the school district said.
Brandy Garber, whose daughter attends Auburn Riverside, said that she kept her daughter home the day after the incident.
“She’s scared. Then on the other side of it, she wants to go to school because she feels like her grades are dropping with me keeping her out. But as a parent, what do you do?” Ms Garber told local news station KIRO-TV.
“She said everybody started running,” Garber added. “They said people came in and were masked and were pushing people out of the way.”
Jacqualine Boles, another parent, told Fox that false rumors of a shooting swept across the school on Thursday, causing even more anguish.
‘I thought it was bananas I thought it was crazy, I thought how could this happen?,’ said Ms Boles.
The police said that they believe the original intrusion stemmed from a fight on school grounds the previous week.
On Friday, two further fights broke out, and the school is now investigating if these incidents are connected with the original incident. A BB gun was confiscated after the second fight.
After the masked intruders were chased away, the school went into a “secure and teach” lockdown for the rest of the day. All doors were locked, and students were not allowed to leave their classrooms.
Police said that additional officers have been stationed on school grounds and at sports games.
School Superintendent Alan Spicciati told KIRO-TV that the school now intends to “take some very serious action.”
An email from the high school’s principal was sent out to parentsafter the original intrusion took place.
“I wanted you to know our next steps for the week. We will continue to have an increased police presence, increased school supervision, and a school resource officer on campus,” the principal wrote.
“We know these incidents are concerning and holding these individuals accountable and keeping students and staff safe is our highest priority”, he added.