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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.

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 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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