By Stan Golovchuk
It is a homecoming tradition in Northbrook: Glenbrook North student decorate storefront windows across town. The yearly tradition pairs student groups with various businesses, and the result is a colorful celebration of the school's relationship with its surrounding community.
But this year, the tradition has sparked a
GBN's Gay-Straight Alliance was tasked with painting Caribou Coffee in downtown Northbrook. A few days after the cafe's window was painted, the decoration was removed.
"They're the only window in town that decided to wash their window," said Debby Shulman, a Northbrook mom and member of Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Glenbrook North found out that the GSA's decoration had been removed when the cafe's manager left them a message saying he heard a couple complaints about the window and decided to erase the painting, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A representative for Caribou Coffee’s corporate office issued the following statement on behalf of the company after Patch reached out for a comment:
It is a corporate-wide key pillar that we are
accepting of all individuals regardless of age, gender, race or sexual orientation.
It’s our hope that all of our guests feel welcome in our coffeehouses.
Unfortunately, the actions undertaken by the Northbrook store team were not in alignment with our executional standards and policies; however, we take full responsibility of these actions.
We completely understand your concerns and we are taking an immediate review of our policies and practices at the store level to ensure every customer has a welcoming and positive experience in our stores.
Caribou's district manager, Meike Fonteyn, told
the Chicago Tribune the brand is "open
to a lot of possibilities to resolving this but it has to be authentic, not
just saying, 'I'm sorry.'"
District 225 spokesperson, Karen Geddeis says the school is disappointed by the circumstances.
"We are proud of our safe and open environment at GBN, where students support and respect each others rights as individuals,” she wrote in an email.
Shulman wanted to make sure people in
Northbrook knew what happened. "As a member of PFLAG, I think it's
pretty critical to let the community know this is unacceptable," she
On the Northbrook Patch Facebook page, Melissa Miller Morreale urges residents to "not purchase Caribou Coffee or visit their establishments. This is outrageous!"
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