Police were called to Belleville West to break up a fight that started in the school’s cafeteria.
The incident carried over from fight that began Tuesday evening and was reignited when one of the students confronted another at approximately 8:25 a.m. Wednesday, said District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier.
Four students were placed into police custody, a news release from the Belleville Police Department stated. Three of the four were released to their parents, pending review by the state’s attorney’s office, while the fourth was taken to the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center. According to police, that student might face felony charges.
“This morning, there was a fight that started out out in the community last night amongst a couple of kids,” Dosier said. “One came to school and confronted the student. I don’t know if both were involved in the situation last night. One was.”
Because the cafeteria was crowded with students awaiting the first-hour bell, the school resource officer made an immediate call for police backup.
“There was a lot of talking back and forth and a large number of students in the the cafeteria,” Dosier said. “Luckily, we have a lot of school staff in the cafeteria, and a school resource officer is in there most mornings. The school resource officer intervened immediately.”
Police and school administrators continue to investigate the incident to identify all who were involved. Dosier said he was not sure who threw punches, adding that there was a lot of shouting.
Because “there were so many students in the cafeteria, the school resource officer got on the radio and asked for additional help. The (Belleville) police responded,” he said. “There were no weapons found and no reported injuries to students or staff.”
In their release, Belleville police stated they are not seeking any additional suspects, but they do ask anyone with information related to the incident to call 618-234-1212.
“We are still talking to kids who were involved,” he said. “It’s not OK to fight in school, as well as it is not OK to fight out in the community.”
Dosier said many students cleared the cafeteria when the fight broke out, while others “didn’t leave the area like I would have wanted a student to do. Some did leave the area when they saw there was trouble.”
Dosier said the school day proceeded on its normal schedule. Classes at Belleville West start at 8:25 a.m.
Illinois State Police, meanwhile, are investigating an accident that occurred when an elderly driver hit a moving police car as it responded to the call for backup at West. Trooper Joshua Korando described it as “a minor crash” without injuries.
“The squad car was running lights and sirens,” he said. “An elderly woman apparently didn’t see the squad car and T-boned it.”