Another WAHS employee arrested
A tipsy 15-year-old girl at Western Albemarle High Tuesday led to the arrest of JV softball coach Alisha D. Stewart, 24, of Faber. Yesterday Stewart was charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Stewart is not a teacher of the school. And, say police, there is no evidence that she supplied booze to any other students. However, the sobriety-impaired teen did allege Coach Stewart had provided alcohol on one other occasion, according to Albemarle police Lieutenant John Teixeira, who was unable to say what beverage the girl had imbibed.
Teixeira said it was unlikely any further charges would be filed against Stewart. He refused to say whether the juvenile will be charged for underage drinking. "If charges are placed, that would be determined by the investigating officer and the commonwealth's attorney," he says. The Hook was unable to reach Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos by blog time.
The student possibly will face consequences for coming to school under the influence, as well as face the school's severe sanctions for breaking athletic training rules, which toss a violator off the team for 30 days. The School Board currently is taking another look at the training rules, which include the proviso that parents rat out their tippling teens, and will discuss revised rules at the May 10 meeting. Rutherford Institute director John Whitehead wrote a March 26 letter to the School Board expressing Constitutional concerns about the pledge.
Among the changes, the training rule will be less draconian– especially on a first offense– and treatment will be offered. Parents will not be required to turn in their children, nor will students be prohibited from using alcohol during religious ceremonies or under their parents' supervision in accordance with the Code of Virginia. And the training rules will be expanded beyond athletes to include all students involved in extracurricular activities– unless it's one for which they're graded.
This is the second season Stewart has coached for Western Albemarle. "She has been suspended," says Diane Behrens, Albemarle schools executive director of support services. "I will be taking a recommendation to the School Board for her dismissal next week."
Police did not provide a mugshot of Coach Stewart, who was released on her own recognizance. "If you're not processed, and if you're released on your own recognizance, there's no mugshot," explains Teixeira.
However, three of the "UVA BB Gun 4" also were released on their own recognizance, but mugshots were taken of them.
This is the second arrest of a current or former WAHS employee for inappropriate behavior toward students in the past month or so. Currently sitting in jail is Richard Neal Willetts, 26, who taught social studies at Western during the 2005-06 school year. He's faces federal charges of sexually enticing minors over the Internet, including two WAHS students, a Fluvanna County High student, and one from Hawaii. And he directed the Secret Garden during his brief Western tenure.
Behrens calls the two springtime arrests "an unfortunate coincidence." Says Behrens, "We expect school employees to serve as role models, and we're disappointed."