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Former LHS Students Share Thoughts About Jeff Daeschler

A letter to the editor.

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.

Dan January 23, 2013 at 04:58 AM
As a fellow high school band director, I have nothing but respect for what Jeff Daeschler was able to do with the LHS band program since he took the reigns. Playing on the stage of the Bands of America National Concert Festival, along with the Mid West Clinic, are the equivalents of the Super Bowl in the activity. Clearly, the students were receiving a first rate music education. This is while trying to work under the shadow legacy of a recently retired band director who was well liked and respected. Imagine having the eyes of every student, parent and member of the community on you everyday at your place of work. Every word and action you make are being judged and they are just waiting for you to slip up so they can say "I knew it... this guy is terrible compared to Mr. So and So". He had the eyes of doubt and skepticism on him from day one and the man gave the kids a great musical experience regardless. I myself took over for a high school band director who had a tremendous error in judgement and crossed the same line. I do not condone what my predecessor did. He more than deserved the time he served in prison. However, as someone who witnessed his life's work (the band program he had built for 35+ years) it angered me to hear others speak of only one thing. He gave hundreds of students a great band program to be a part of and that is worth mentioning. continued....
Dan January 23, 2013 at 04:59 AM
continued... Bravo students of LHS for being able to see the whole picture and having a grounded, mature attitude regarding the entire situation. This world is not black and white and neither are people and their actions. Simply trying to place people into convenient boxes of 'good' and 'bad' demonstrates an arrogance and 'holier than thou' mentality. After all, Let he who is free of sin cast the first stone.
Justin Ronne January 23, 2013 at 05:15 AM
I'm not going to throw out my opinion because im sure it'll get harped on just like everyone elses. I just want to thank Miss Glassberg. Its a tough position from both a student's side and a parent/adult side. All of the students are dealing with feeling of loss, sadness, anger, and the list goes on. Plain and simple, students were hurt. Parents are dealing with anger and disgust because they think about how they would feel if it were their child. Both viewpoints make sense and are understood. But as Miss Glassberg said, we weren't involved.
Kristen January 23, 2013 at 05:26 AM
Luke, I too applaud you for a well written, well thought out letter. You were respectful and sincere and did not try to manipulate the very few facts that are known, nor did you try to make excuses for the behavior. Too many of us are so quick to judge others with very little information. We know nothing other than Mr. Daeschler was accused of inappropriate behavior between a teacher and a student and that there was no evidence of criminal behavior between the two adults involved that would warrant a police investigation. Beyond that, we are unaware of the details of the relationship or evidence that was submitted. These younger adults were very careful to avoid making any assumptions in their letter, we should follow their lead.
Jack Burnett January 23, 2013 at 05:43 AM
As much as I disagree with what he did, he doesnt deserve to be put out how he has been. Luke, I wish I myself could have signed this letter, because I agree with all of the points wholeheartedly. I must also say to everyone that thinks they know what's going on and is being all arrogant and brash- don't judge a book by its cover. And don't read the last page first either. What you need to do is consider what he did to help his students and further them in their musical careers and just everything he did up to the point where he screwed up. He was an incredible band director who taught me personally quite a bit. He made one mistake, just one. Of course, this was a huge mistake, but it was only one mistake after a multitude of positive actions.
Ana Draa January 23, 2013 at 02:34 PM
For those who struggle to understand why a relationship between an 18 year old student and his/her teacher cannot be allowed, here's a very well written article on this topic, in the words of a student who graduated high school last year. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mikaela-raphael/why-studentteacher-relati_b_1435275.html
Angela Roeser January 23, 2013 at 04:05 PM
For the final time: not once have any of us stated that we approve of this relationship. The purpose of this article is to shed light on the side of Daeschler that we believe he should be remembered for.
Kristen January 23, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Ana, I don’t believe anyone who has commented here, or Mr. Sans, has questioned why a relationship between a student and teacher shouldn’t be allowed, it shouldn’t. The students were quite upfront about that not being acceptable. LHS and the board were legally and ethically bound to dismiss Mr. Daeschler if they believed they had sufficient evidence to support the allegation. I don’t believe that was the intent of the students’ letter. I can’t speak for them, but the letter seemed more a response to the vilification of his character by persons who know neither the man, nor the details of the relationship. Because of the privacy concerns cited by the school board, neither the name of the involved former student, nor the nature and evidence in support of the alleged relationship, has been released. Yet, we are quick to make judgment on the intentions of both Mr. Daeschler and the young lady with regards to the relationship. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that the older of the two was the aggressor, a pedophile in the eyes of some, but that is making a leap beyond what information we know. We can reasonably state that if the relationship existed, he should have known better, he knows the rules and boundaries, and the punishment is appropriate with regards to expected standards of behavior. Beyond that, all is conjecture and damaging to all parties involved.
Stephanie January 23, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Luke San wrote a very intelligent and heart felt letter. I am a band parent and fully agree with the sentiments Luke and the other students feel. These students seem to understand that the sex with a student was wrong, they do not seem naive at all. I agree with the comments by Dan. We do not know the whole story, there are many aspects of the information we do have that do not jive. I concede, as do these students, that Mr. Daeschler made a big mistake, on the other hand he has been a wonderful mentor to many students. I agree that some parents are making this a witch-hunt without having the full story at hand. I would not call "RatemyTeacher.com" a credible source of facts. Students angry with a teacher over discipline or grades or perceived unfairness vent on that all of the time. Every teacher gets negative and inflammatory remarks on that site, even the most reputable ones.I wouldn't bet a dime on the veracity of that website. Angela Roeser...very well put!
Stephanie January 23, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Dan, I totally agree!
Stephanie January 23, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Luke, there are many in agreement and who understand the purpose and intent of your letter. I wish my daughter would have been able to sign the letter as well. We read it together and discussed it. I am so proud that my child is involved in an organization with such eloquent, intelligent and brave students.
Kristen January 23, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Well said Dan.
Tom B January 23, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Well said Lisa!
Kristen January 23, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Joe, please check your facts before posting. If you read the comments you are referring to, they are obviously posted by students, not parents. The band office at LHS is a room shared by teachers, there is a very large window that separates it from the larger band room. I have stopped by frequently and there are often numerous students in the office, harmlessly talking to the various instructors. It is not a clandestine meeting location. I was a band student 35 years ago, even back then we all spent as much time as we could in the band room chatting with our director. It was one of the best memories I have of high school. Let's try not to twist a normal behavior into something it's not.
Jon H January 23, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Donny, get you're homosexual bashing thoughts out of here. Completely ignorant, insensitive, and inappropriate for the debate that's going on. I bite my thumb at you!
Ana Draa January 24, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Thank you Rebecca for your post, you bring valuable insight to this discussion. You state very elequently what many of us are thinking, and trying to impress on our children and the students in our community...actions have consequences. The D128 & LHS administrators & school board have done a very professional job of handling a difficult situation, as a community we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Christian B January 24, 2013 at 06:10 AM
I wrote myself passes so I could skip class to talk with Mr. Daeschler, Mr. Clemons, Mr. Helvie, Mr. Shupe, Mr. Marino, Mr. Heath, and Dr. Brown. All of these fine music educators were as much great mentors and friends as they were teachers to me, and each one of them helped guide me as I decided to pursue a major in music. Mr. Daeschler especially inspired me to not accept "good enough" and to rather strive for greatness. I can understand why the board made its decision, but the portrayal of Mr. Daeschler is inaccurate. I don't believe that a consensual act between two adults has a victim. Actions do result in consequences, and the words chosen here and in other settings do not escape this reality. Misrepresentations are not what we are trying to impress on our children either. The students who know him best should be the ones to paint the portrait of the man he is. The truth is that Mr. Daeschler will be remembered by his students at Libertyville for the Superstate victory and recording trips and all of the successes he achieved in only a short time (even the corny jokes that perhaps only once elicited a chuckle). It is to Mr. Daeschler that the community owes a debt of gratitude for being an educator, a mentor, a friend, and an inspiration. There are a hundred other students that would agree. And may I please never have to play Till Eulenspiegel again... Thank you JD, you're the man.
Ana Draa January 24, 2013 at 01:39 PM
By publishing this letter and commenting on it, we have all chosen to permanently link our names via an internet search to this issue. So as the students who signed this letter continue their applications for college, scholarships & jobs, this will come up, but that is their choice. To bring in the names of other great teachers at the school who have literally nothing to do with this, and link their names as well, is completely wrong. Christian, I am glad you felt well supported during your time at LHS by the music department. Knowing that list of instructors as well as I do, I guaranty you that there's only one name on that list that also considered you, or any of the students, a friend...because the rest of the teachers have clearly demonstrated an understanding appropriate boundaries in a teacher/student relationship. You are well within your rights to defend Mr. Daeschler as you see fit, but please have enough respect the rest of the staff who are completely innocent not to drag them in.
Daisy January 24, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Ana Draa, you have made your point REPEATEDLY, and I think it's time to stop berating these students. They are grieving the loss of a teacher, and they have a right to express their feelings.
Ana Draa January 24, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Daisy, of course the students and parents have the right to express their feelings, we all do. Not once have they been berated. They have chosen to grieve in a public forum with a comment section. "The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing" Martin Luther King
Jenness Moss Stock January 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Ana, I don't think ANYONE, including Luke, the eloquent author, is saying that it is OK to allow a student-teacher relationship to occur. He clearly is not condoning his behavior, as he states that it was "unprofessional and inappropriate" as well as a "grievous error in judgement". Although the relationship was not illegal since the girls in question was 18 at the time, it is most certainly immoral, and you are correct, an adult in a teaching position needs to have a higher set of morals than to engage in a relationship with an 18 year old. I don't think that Luke or any of his fellow former students would disagree.
Jenness Moss Stock January 24, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Flag him as inappropriate and the Patch will remove it if they get enough complaints. I completely agree with you.
Patrick T. January 24, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Ana, we have all heard enough from you. Your constant negativity and failure to even attempt to see an issue from a perspective other than your own is almost as aggravating as it is pathetic. Your words make it clear that you made no effort to try to understand the points made in the letter before you started making rude and insensitive comments. Please, do us all a favor and stop commenting on this article, as it is very clear that you have missed the point of it entirely.
Samuel Clemens January 24, 2013 at 10:47 PM
I like CAPITALIZING random WORDS as well to try to ADD emphasis to my ARGUMENTS.
Dan January 24, 2013 at 11:32 PM
How did this previous sexual relationship go unnoticed? I assume you were a student at the time at Stagg HS and that is how you know about it. Was this common knowledge within the band program or were you made privy to it directly by the student involved?
Patricia January 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Ana Draa shut up
John Smith January 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Lets just say there was a lot of inappropriate behavior happening between a few different students and teachers back then. Several teachers were let go in 1 school year for similar reasons. Everyone knew about it, especially those in the music dept. The administration knew of rumors but did nothing. She graduated a few months after it was common knowledge, as did the people who knew her well and of their relationship. No one came forward and he changed schools a few years later. He got lucky he slipped off the chopping block before it was too late for him. I'm glad to know that since he chose to continue to behave the same way for so many years, he got caught. He deserves whats coming to him.
Korrina Grom (Editor) January 25, 2013 at 04:50 AM
Hi everyone. Can we please keep the comments respectful, and refrain from posting accusatory comments about anyone - including teachers, named or unnamed? Thanks!
Amy Johnson January 27, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Let me just clear something up here, they did NOT "perform" at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. They were used as a clinic band for a clinician to use during his talk about musicianship. As someone who has actually performed on the "big stage" at Midwest I get tired of hearing people mislead the public with this claim. To perform at the Midwest Clinic is absolutely the "Super Bowl" of bands, but I would not compare being a clinic band to a performing ensemble in the least. Also please do not forget that Jeff Daeschler inherited a program that was already stellar. He did not build this program from the bottom up, his predecessor did. I'm not by any means trying to take something away from the hard work that the students have put in or the fact that they should be proud of their accomplishments. Mr. Daeschler should also be proud of the musical accomplishments that he has been able to experience with this group. However, he should not be remembered ONLY for these things, especially things that are creatively worded to make him look even better. He and the Libertyville Band program should be proud of the accomplishments that they have had, but please give credit where it is due and for the correct things. Lastly, Mr. Daeschler will likely always be remembered for the mistake he made and it is nice that his students are willing to stand up for him so hopefully he will be remembered as much for his positive attributes as his mistakes.
Taylor February 20, 2013 at 01:57 PM
"Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" An "inappropriate physical relationship" between a teacher and student is ALWAYS unethical.

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