In light of the recent events concerning the former Libertyville Band Director Jeff Daeschler, I believe the public should hear the unique opinion of a former student of his. First of all, I would like to clarify that neither I nor any student disagrees that what occurred was unprofessional and inappropriate, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to the unnamed girl and her family in what is likely a difficult time.
However, many students are upset that Daeschler has been portrayed in several news sources as some sort of despicable sexual predator barely above a pedophile, and as an alumnus of his band, it is extremely frustrating that only the negatives of Daeschler’s presence have been brought to light. I have been a musician from a very young age and have been blessed with excellent musical mentors in my life including the wonderful Don Shupe for the first two years of my high school career. With that in mind, realize I do not carelessly say that Jeff Daeschler was one of the finest mentors I have ever worked under.
Daeschler entered the Libertyville Band Program with all eyes following every action of this “new guy”, and I would be lying if I did not say that many students including myself were simply waiting for the mistakes that would lead to the deterioration of our band’s longtime excellence. It did not take long for the “new guy” to prove us all wrong. Somehow Daeschler was capable of combining ambition, hard work, and relaxed good humor into a perfect storm of musical talent that not only won awards and our respect, but also pushed many of us to be better musicians.
And to speak only of Daeschler’s musical capabilities would be doing him a disservice. So many of us came to see him as not only a knowledgeable teacher, but also as a trusted advisor and friend. He was never too busy to chat, never so stressed he yelled at us (even if he probably should have), and never so competitive he put the pursuit of success over the well-being of his students. We were all so fortunate to gain a teacher who understood that the best bands are not fueled by the threat of bad grades or petty competition against fellow musicians.
His impact at Libertyville can only truly be measured in the words of his students, many of whom are trying to process what has happened.
“I admit that even for me, it was hard not to just focus on this mistake he made, but now I’m remembering all the good things he did. After seeing the passion and joy he brought to his job and students, I was inspired to pursue a career in music education,” said one student.
“I walked into his office many times in tears and left feeling like I could accomplish anything,” said another student, adding “what he did was wrong but he meant a lot to us, and I’m sad to have to say goodbye.”
I know many of you readers never had the chance to get to know Jeff Daeschler and now this “scandal” is what you think of when you hear his name. I do not ask that you forgive him for what happened nor is this some sort of attempt to get him rehired. I am simply voicing the opinion of so many of his students, and we want you to realize that Daeschler was a good man and a good teacher. He has been punished for the grievous error in judgment he made, but do not let that define his time here at Libertyville because to his students, the man’s flaws cannot crack who he is at his core. You have not been forgotten Mr. Daeschler, and you can always know that you did more for the development of your students than you ever could have imagined.
With the support of,
Luke San, Clayton Kullander, Sandeep Balasubramanian, Jackie Hong, Toni Cao, Alexa Kay, Patrick Thompson, Thomas August, Devin Wood, Matt Joras, Sebastian Clavijo, Christian Bator, Hiba Ahmed, Kelsey Heffern, Nikki Katz, Katherine Clow, Zack Alban, Rob St. Claire, Maree Sanderson, Jonathan Hutchins, Hannah Travers, Ben Jones, Laura Andrew, Angie Roeser, Craig Kym, Sam Voelker, Tori Saam, Tanmay Adya, Mike Babowice, Evelyn Rit, Claire Montgomery, Bradford Reszel, Margret Matias, Eric Pulick, Erika Danckers, Kevin Kahover, Nathan Wolf, Alex Gough, Ethan Andrews, Austin Mateer, Justin Ronne, Joe Sackett, Erin Gray, Rebecca Oh, Alyssa Everding, Taylor Isberg, Joe Aumuller.
—This letter was submitted by Luke San.