Recapping the Facts from Last Week

Recapping the Facts from Last Week

Jack Stokes

The week of October 24 was full of many horrendous and surreal events for members of the Belleville area community. In recapping the past week, this article will compile all the known facts and the communication from district 201 on the events that occurred.


Thursday, October 27, 2022: Belleville Township High School District #201 Superintendent Dr. Brian Mentzer made an “all-call” to the families of 201 campuses:


Yesterday morning, at Belleville East, school officials and the Belleville Police Department both received communication from parents and students regarding a possible weapon on campus. The school and Belleville PD took immediate action. They sought out the alleged threat, isolated them, and brought the situation to a safe resolution. The student was found to be in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and was immediately taken into custody.


This morning, Belleville East and Belleville West experienced vague social media posts regarding potential threats on our campuses. We were in immediate communication with local law enforcement. We collaborated to quickly determine the credibility of the threats. They were both deemed to be non-credible threats. Nonetheless, our staff took both situations seriously. No weapons were involved in either of these situations.


The Belleville Police Department provides additional resources to our schools. They recognize and share our desire to maintain a safe and secure school environment. They provide valuable resources that help us analyze, track, and investigate these situations.


School counselors and social workers are on hand to help with student and staff anxiety and worry. They also provide valuable mental health and community resources to members of the school community. We encourage everyone to use these resources.


Our schools have multiple layers for managing situations of this nature. We have unarmed campus patrol, armed campus security, school resource officers, access control devices on doors, and closed circuit cameras. Teachers are trained by the Belleville Police Department using the 4E model. This training occurred last week on both campuses.


We love children. We care about their safety and wellbeing. I am encouraging everyone to talk to their child about the use of social media; the content they post, like and share; the way our words and photos may impact others that are struggling to reconcile the recent events. We need to come together, as a school community, to support and love one another.   


As a final note, we want you to know how much we appreciate all of you and recognize how hard this is on everyone at our schools.  Not only do we love children, we love our staff.  Please continue to talk and support each other and reach out to us if there is anything we can do for you.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022: Belleville West Principal Mr. Rich Mertens made an “all-call” to the families of Belleville West:


Hello, this is Rich Mertens, principal of BW. Today we received information that there was a social media post of a threat being circulated among our students.  We have an increased police presence on campus and are working to find the origins of the post.  We have no information to believe this is credible at this time and we strongly encourage parents to engage with their students regarding the use of social media.  More details will be provided as we obtain additional information. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2022: Belleville East Principal Mr. Josh Lane made an “all-call” to the families of Belleville East:


Good Morning, this is Josh Lane, Principal of Belleville East. I am calling to let you know that this morning a student was discovered to be in possession of an unloaded firearm on campus. Our administration and security worked quickly to isolate and apprehend the student without incident. The weapon was never displayed or visible at school, and the student was taken into custody without incident. We will continue to work with our own staff, local law enforcement, and our entire school community to make sure safety is our top priority. Belleville East appreciates the efforts of school administration, campus security, and the Belleville police department for bringing this incident to a safe resolution.


Note: This is a developing story, and facts will be added as they become available.