Officials at St. Mary School in Riverside summoned police to the campus last week after a wayward coyote found itself in the rear parking lot and, for a time, scratching at the back door to the school, 97 Herrick Road.

Riverside police received a call from a school administrator just before 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, warning that a coyote was prowling around the parking area off East Burlington Street.

No children were outside the building at the time; school was already in session for the morning. But when police arrived, they saw children and teachers looking out the windows at the coyote, which was near the playground area in the back of the school, scratching at a door as if it were trying to get in.

Three police officers arrived on the scene and reported that the coyote turned around, showed its teeth and growled at them. That reaction prompted the officers to pull out their pistols, which they never pointed at the animal or the school building, according to Police Chief Tom Weitzel.

“The animal was extremely aggressive,” Weitzel said. “At times the coyote was running around the perimeter of the school near the entrance.”

Eventually, the coyote was able to squeeze between a fence and the school building and took off toward Herrick Road, Weitzel said. Officers attempted to track the animal, but weren’t able to find it.

Riverside police maintained a presence around the school on Friday and were present at dismissal time.

Weitzel said police received a call around 2:40 p.m. on Friday of a coyote roaming through backyards in the 200 block of Addison Road, about a block-and-a-half away from the school. When police arrived in the area, the animal couldn’t be found.

“We haven’t had any other sightings since that day,” Weitzel said on Monday afternoon.