BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Police are investigating after a Belleville school principal reported five students plotted to lure a 13-year-old girl into a wooded area near the school.
The assault never took place, but the details of the planned attack were serious enough that they warranted disciplinary action, Belle Valley School District #119 Superintendent Dr. Louis Obernuefemann said.
"If there was any validity to it whatsoever, it would interfere with the safety of our children,” Obernuefemann said. “So yes, we took full steps making sure if it were a fully designed plan and they intending ready to carry it out, we'd be ready."
The district said the group of students are special education middle school students, ranging from ages 12-14. On Friday, during a beautification cleanup event at the school’s track, the group had begun to discuss sexually assaulting a female student.
Obernuefemann said two students overheard the conversation and notified teachers.
The district contacted Belleville police and has launched its own investigation into the matter. The district also alerted parents.
Four of the five students have been suspended for two to 10 days, Obernuefemann said. Their suspensions range from 2-10 days. The fifth student, an eighth grader believed to be the “mastermind,” has been removed from the school and now attends a special school.
News 4 spoke with Belle Valley parents about the incident. Many of them were relieved to hear the district took disciplinary action against the students, but worry about whether students are being guided in the right direction outside of school.
"It's not just the children. I really, honest-to-g-d don't think the parents are spending enough time with their children right from wrong anymore," Ruth Rensing, a grandparent, said.