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News Mother speaks out against ban from Franklin High School events

Macon County Sheriff's Office Detective Amy Stewart spoke with members of the media last Thursday for the first time since being served with two criminal summonses on Jan. 6. Under the advisement of her Asheville-based lawyer, Jack Stewart, Detective Stewart answered questions from members of the media that did not directly reference the pending charges or ongoing investigation.

“The way I have been treated is unfair,” said Stewart. “Because of the events and the way the school's administration has handled it, I can not go to my daughter's senior basketball games. If my daughter was hurt, I wouldn't be allowed on campus to take care of her. If she needed money for something I couldn't take it to her, and this may continue and prevent me from attending her high school graduation.”

Stewart was officially served by Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. The summonses alleged that two separate incidents took place between Stewart and the two complainants, Kimberly Spies and Anna Shields: One taking place during a FHS basketball game on the evening before and another via social media in the days prior. The complainants were advised by deputies in the gym providing security that they could go to the Sheriff’s Office website and file a formal complaint against Stewart and they could also go to the Magistrate’s office if they felt a crime had been committed.

Both summonses claim that Stewart was communicating threats, one against Spies’ son, a student at Franklin High School and the other against Franklin High School employee Anna Shields. Both alleged incidents occurred while Stewart was not on duty.

According to Stewart, her frustration regarding the matter lies in the fact that the events leading up to her ban from Franklin High School is a personal issue with another FHS mother, Anna Shields. “Because of Anna's employment with the school system, and because of her husband Gary's role on the school board, I believe that we are being treated unfairly,” said Stewart. “My husband and I have had problems with Anna for years, this is not anything new.”

Detective Stewart pointed out that her older daughter plays basketball at Western Carolina University with Shields’ older daughter, and the two attend those games without any conflict. “We have never had a conflict at the Western games,” said Stewart. “After everything happened at the high school, Anna went to my daughter's Western coaches and tried to get me banned from those games, but they refused to do so.”

During the press conference, Stewart also voiced her frustration that while she is banned from events at Franklin High School, a judge did not see her as a threat and denied a no-contact order request filed by Shields on Jan. 10.

According to documents filed with the Clerk of Courts Office, Shields requested a no-contact order requesting that Stewart be legally banned from Franklin High School and all school events. District Court Judge Richlyn A. Holt denied the request citing “the plantiff has failed to prove grounds for issuance of a temporary nocontact order.”

After Stewart's husband Steve went before the Board of Education to request that his wife be allowed to attend their daughter's sporting events and graduation, Detective Stewart received a request from interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Duncan, who originally issued the ban, for her to put in writing a request for the ban to be lifted.

In compliance with his request, Stewart wrote a letter to Dr. Duncan stating, “After speaking with my husband yesterday, I learned that you have requested a letter from me in regards to being allowed back on Franklin High School campus. I respectfully request that you lift the ban that you imposed on me on Jan. 7, 2013, prohibiting me from being on the campus of Franklin High School, as well as any FHS extracurricular events. I never have and never would do anything to put the safety of students, parents, or staff at risk.

“My daughter [name removed], is a senior this year and is very active on the basketball team. I have already had to miss six games (including away games) due to the letter you sent me. Those are times I cannot ever get back. As you can imagine, for a mother who has been very active in her daughter's life, this has been heartbreaking for me, as well as for my daughter. I give you my word that if I am allowed to attend Franklin High School to watch my daughter's games, senior events, graduation, etc, then you will have no problem with me. Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter. I hope to hear from you soon.”

Despite compliance with Dr. Duncan's request, he responded to Stewart's letter to inform her that she was still banned from the campus. “In my previous letter to you, I indicated that I would rescind the direction given to you if and when there was a satisfactory conclusion to the matter. I did request and received a letter from you stating, in general that there would be no problems at events at Franklin High School. After reading your letter, and upon further reflection, I am not, at this time, rescinding the previous direction of my Jan. 24 letter. Obviously this could change when there is a conclusion to the matters under consideration.”

Franklin High School senior night is scheduled for this Friday night. “My daughter's senior night, the last home game of her high school career, is next Friday, and if something doesn't change, I am going to miss it,” said Stewart. “It just is not fair and it breaks my heart that I may not be allowed to be there. I can assure anyone and everyone that I would do nothing at these games than watch my daughter and do as any other mother would, if only given the chance.”

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