Ashley Hall director recognized by county council for gun incident

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The woman who stepped in front of an armed woman last February and prevented her from walking onto the campus of Ashley Hall School was recognized by Charleston County Council.

Mary Schweers is the director of the Upper School who "is fully committed to her students and to her colleagues as demonstrated by her actions on Feb. 4, 2013, when a woman bearing a gun approached the Ashley Hall campus, aimed the gun at Schweers and another teacher while pulling the trigger as students were milling about the campus," wrote Teddie Pryor in a resolution to honor her.{}

Pryor goes on to say that Schweers' bravery also inspired the Boland Law, a law that registers people who have been ruled mentally ill by a South Carolina court and forbids them from gun ownership.{}

According to police, 28-year-old Alice Boland showed up at the school on Feb. 4, 2013 with a loaded gun and pointed it at Schweers. While she allegedly pulled the trigger repeatedly, the gun did not fire. Police later said the gun had been improperly loaded.{}

SPECIAL SECTION: The Alice Boland Story

Court records show that Boland had been arrested previously for threatening to kill the president and members of Congress, as well as a Secret Service agent sent to investigate her. However, charges against her were dropped after officials determined she was not competent to stand trial.{}

In November, Schweers' act of courage fueled local interest in having her awarded the state's highest civilian honor -- the Order of the Palmetto. Rep. Leon Stavrinakis sponsored her entry.{}

However, she was denied the order and instead given a certificate.{}

[The aide] called me back and said they had decided not to award the Order of the Palmetto and instead they were going to do just a generic certificate of appreciation. Frankly, I was stunned," Stavrinakis said in a phone interview.

One week later, Stavrinakis was in the stands at Williams-Brice Stadium as the Gamecocks took on the University of Florida. There, Haley awarded USC women's head basketball coach Dawn Staley with the Order of the Palmetto at halftime.{}

Stavrinakis took his disappoint to social media, tweeting, "@NikkiHaley Gives order of Palmetto to Bball coach but rejects it from Mary Schweers who risked her life to save Elem students from death."

Risking one's life to save students is courageous, but{} Doug Mayer, spokesman for the governor's office, said the act simply did not meet the requirements.

Boland is being kept in a mental health facility in North Carolina. Her bond was set at $900,000.

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