After flap over Fox News appearance, Mount Prospect school officer reinstated
A Mount Prospect police officer whose appearance on Fox News last week rankled some in the community and thrust a local controversy into the national spotlight has been reinstated as the school resource officer at Prospect High School.
Village and Northwest Suburban High School District 214 officials announced the reinstatement of Officer Lisa Schaps in a joint statement Thursday that cites "productive, continued conversations" between the two sides.
"I enjoy my job serving, protecting, and supporting each of the 2,100 students that come through the school doors on a daily basis and will continue to do so in an equitable manner," Schaps said in the statement. "I am excited to welcome all students back on August 11th when we start our new school year."
The decision reverses last week's removal of Schaps from the post at the request of District 214 officials. The request came after Schaps and fellow Officer Chris Berg went on the "Fox and Friends" morning show June 20 to discuss an ongoing debate over the police department's uniform patch.
The patch features a black-and-white American flag with the "thin blue line" as one of its stripes. Police say the thin blue line honors officers who've died in the line of duty. However, some village residents and board members have called for its removal, arguing that the thin blue line imagery has been co-opted by extremist groups and makes some in the community uncomfortable.
Schaps defended the patch during her Fox News appearance, as well as in remarks before the village board in June.
"I understand where (the critics are) coming from when I listen to the things that they're saying, but those were never our intentions. We never saw this as hateful or oppressive," Schaps said on the cable-news show.
Hours later, Schaps said, Prospect High Principal Greg Minter contacted her by email to say the he and District 214's superintendent had received several complaints about her TV appearance. The following day, Minter met with Schaps and Mount Prospect Police Chief John Koziol and asked that she be reassigned.
"As the school resource officer assigned to one of our schools has become a police department spokesperson on this issue, we did recommend the consideration of having a different officer assigned to this school in order for our focus to remain on our students and school-related issues," a statement issued by the district last week reads.
The controversy caused continued angst among village leaders this week.
"It took a local issue and took it to a national platform," Mayor Paul Hoefert said Tuesday. "I don't think that we needed to do that."