LHS Staff Member Fired After Removing ‘Safe Space’ Stickers

One+example+of+the+many+safe+space+stickers+hung+on+teachers+windows+to+show+support+for+their+LGBTQ%2B+students.

Jenna Grayson

One example of the many ‘safe space’ stickers hung on teachers’ windows to show support for their LGBTQ+ students.

Jenna Grayson, Staff Writer

Note: The writer of this story is also a member of Libertyville High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

At the beginning of the second semester, an LHS staff member on the buildings and grounds department was fired following his removal of the “safe space” stickers, after he was seen on security footage taking the stickers down, according to Ms. Dyan Naslund, the club sponsor for Libertyville High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

Ms. Naslund said, “[the administration] started checking security cameras immediately,” after she explained the missing sticker situation to Mr. Maroscher, where security camera footage revealed the former LHS staff member was caught removing the stickers.

     From the time of “two or three weeks before winter break,” when GSA first began distributing the new stickers, to “ the time [shortly] after [winter break],” numerous stickers were taken down according to Ms. Naslund, who received “35 requests for new stickers.”

     Ms. Naslund wasn’t aware of what the exact “reasons were for his termination” and Mr. Eric Maroscher, an assistant principal at LHS, declined an interview on the subject.

     District of 128’s Director of Communications, Ms. Mary Todoric also declined to comment on the subject stating, “We are not able to share details regarding personnel matters.”

     During this school year, GSA decided to revamp the “safe space” stickers, which have been around LHS for about 10 years, and Ms. Naslund sent out an email to all faculty and staff to notify them that new stickers were available and received 100-125 emails back interested in getting one. Shortly after teachers began to hang up their stickers, they began to be taken down, which was brought to Ms. Naslund’s attention when a colleague approached her at a department meeting and another colleague later that day, both to request more stickers, as theirs had been removed.

     Ms. Naslund described the incident as “a student safety issue” because of the possibility that students may have “[felt] like their classroom was a target for somebody to take the sticker down.” She says that this, “sends a message to students that is kind of confusing,”, since the purpose of the stickers is to help “make sure students knew which faculty and staff members were sort of the ones who felt comfortable talking about [LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual+)] issues.”

     Ms. Naslund says that she’s not exactly sure why the former LHS staff member was removing the “safe space” stickers and if their actions were “because of the person’s personal views, religious views, cultural views [or not],” as she didn’t know if “that the person had actually spoken [their reasons] out loud…I think it was just an unanswered question.”

     While Ms. Naslund is relieved that it wasn’t a teacher removing the stickers because of the “close contact with students that teachers have,” still, “knowing that it was an adult was pretty disheartening.”

     She was, however, “really happy” to see that teachers requested new “safe space” stickers, “even though it was taken down once.” Ms. Naslund was also pleased to see how “the administrators handled [the issue] immediately and wanted to make sure that this was not compromising anyone’s safety.”