Ongoing racial tensions and an alleged sexual assault have sparked fights at Spanaway Lake High School this week, prompting a larger than usual police presence on campus.
It started April 27 when a female student told a school resource officer she’d been sexually assaulted on campus.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department investigated the alleged assault and forwarded the case to the Prosecutor’s Office.
No charges have been filed.
On Tuesday, two of the girl’s brothers “chased the suspect down into the office and got into a very large fight,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
One person was thrown into a window but no serious injuries were reported.
Both brothers, who were believed to be students, were arrested on suspicion of assault.
Officials said the incident sparked ill will among black and Samoan students and their family members.
The alleged victim is black and the boy she accused of assaulting her is Samoan, according to the Sheriff's Department.
“We had 50 others lined up on each side, pretty much right down the race line,” Troyer said.
Spanaway Lake High was placed on lockdown Tuesday because of the brawl.
Since then, several fights have broken out on and around campus, threats have been made against various involved students and social media rumors are circulating.
“People will be held accountable,” Troyer said.
Principal Julieta Baublits sent home a note to parents Wednesday, assuring them there will be extra staff and deputies present on campus and asking parents to speak with their children.
“There is a lot of misleading, angry and simply wrong information online that stems from this situation,” Baublits wrote in the note. “I’m asking you to talk with your students about what they are reading and posting online.”
Students involved in the fights were brought in Thursday to discuss the situation. Additional deputies are patrolling the high school this week.
"Things have calmed down," Bethel School District spokesman Doug Boyles said. "Today was quiet. It was uneventful."
About 1,500 students attend Spanaway Lake High.
Nearly 16 percent of them identify as black. Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islanders make up 5.4 percent, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s state report card from the 2016-2017 school year.