Crime

Police say social media threats against Belleville West High School are not credible

Belleville West cancels class after report of student with weapon

Cars line up as classes were canceled for the day Monday after authorities received a report that a Belleville West High School student may have had a weapon on campus.
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Cars line up as classes were canceled for the day Monday after authorities received a report that a Belleville West High School student may have had a weapon on campus.

Social media threats made against Belleville West High School on Wednesday are not credible, authorities say.

District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier said that there were two posts brought to the school’s attention Wednesday night. One was a screenshot of a Snapchat text conversation where students discussed a “hit-list.” The other was a photo sent around of a made-up document of red letters on a black background telling students not to come to school on Friday.

Lt. Mark Kroenig of the Belleville Police Department said that after an investigation, the threats were deemed not credible. Dosier sent a message out to parents Wednesday night relaying that information. Police also said threats were made just against Belleville West and no other school.

On Monday, the high school was placed on lockdown before being evacuated when a student told school authorities he’d brought a loaded gun to campus and it had been stolen. After an “extensive” search, Dosier told parents on Tuesday that no weapons had been discovered by police.

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office charged a 15-year-old male student on Wednesday in connection with the loaded gun brought to campus. According to a release from the office, the student also possessed a knife at the time. That student is in police custody and will be for 30 days pending adjudication before the Juvenile Court Division.

The minor was charged with unlawful use of a weapon on school grounds, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon without a FOID card, unlawful possession of a firearm and unauthorized possession or storage of weapons.

According to the news release, the student also had a knife on school grounds. The release did not address what type of firearm the student possessed or where it was found.

The student’s name is not being released because of his age.

Around 11:15 a.m. on Monday, Belleville police were informed that a student told school authorities he had brought a loaded gun to school and left it in his backpack, but that someone had gone through the bag and that the gun was missing.

The school was placed on lockdown before students were dismissed room by room as a precaution.

Classes resumed Tuesday, but with an increased police presence that continued into Wednesday as well.

On Tuesday night, District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier told Belleville West parents that an “extensive” police search of the building yielded no weapons.

“If a weapon was brought onto campus, that would be subject to disciplinary consequences or if someone gave us misleading information, that would also be subject to disciplinary consequences,” he said in the voicemail. “Obviously we can’t have students thinking it’s OK to bring a weapon onto campus or even say that they’ve done it. That’s not going to be accepted.”

The school district said security video had been reviewed during the investigation.

The student who was charged will be held in police custody for 30 days pending adjudication before the Juvenile Court Division.

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Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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