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An award winning 6th grade teacher at Nature Hill Intermediate in Oconomowac, Michael Krill, was suspended after accidentally sending an audio excerpt of his personal journal to his grade school class.

Now I am a man who has an unhealthy distrust of our local state media, but even I was shocked at how the majority of the local State media decided to cover this story.  They chose sensationalism over journalistic integrity. They chose laziness over ruining a good teacher’s name and career.

While I felt a little dirty listening to Krill’s personal journal (just as I would if I was reading a stranger’s personal diary), but to get an honest opinion for this piece, I deemed it necessary.

Now, the media has seemed to focus on these quotes as damning offenses:

“The more and more I work in education.  The more and more I despise education.”  

And then later in the 7 minute audio excerpt:

“I’ve hated school since I was a little boy.  I’ve never liked school.  I never wanted to be in school. The only reason I stayed in school was I kept being told my whole life that I need to make money.”

Listening to the full audio, it is clear as day (or to the grade schoolers Krill teaches) that he was discussing his frustration with Act 10, the loss of Collective Bargaining and his ability to teach the children in a more effective way.  When he’s talking about “education”, he’s not talking about learning or teaching, but the foundation and the system in which children are taught.  Parents at that school should look at this as a good thing, not a bad thing.  They should look at him wanting to push the envelope and trying new concepts as commendable.  Can’t these parents see he is trying to improve the system?

The State media has also latched on to this quote knowing it would cause an emotional response.

“For some reason the Christians are afraid to see the truth, and the non-Christians are afraid to say the truth.  And the truth is what is bothering me.”

Again, I am shocked by the blatant omission of the local media on what Krill was actually discussing.  If you listen to the full audio, before that quote, he says this:

“The Christian schools don’t have it right either.  You go to a Christian school for an eternal education.  You go to a public school for an earthly education. It’s that simple.”

Afterwards he states:

“The truth of the matter is, none of this matters at all, and it says it in the scriptures, it says it in the bible many, many, many times.  It is finished and it is over and that God has complete control on our destinies and all the things that we do and he gives us a choice.  The battle is between ourselves and God.”

They all seemed to have left out that Krill is a devout Christian that, throughout the audio clip, praises Jesus and quotes scripture.

The local media reacted to this story as if the readers or viewers are just too dumb to comprehend the more complex ideas and thoughts Krill was actually articulating.  Sure, some of it was brash, some of it was biting, but all of it was intellectual, smart and apparently too sophisticated for the local media to understand.

Out of all the media outlets in the State, I was appalled with Fox New 6 in Milwaukee the most.

So let’s take them as an example.  Here is a link to Ben Handelman’s story/news segment. 

  • Fox News 6 stated it was a podcast when it was actually a personal journal from his I-Pad that was accidentally sent out.   The news segment describes the audio as bizarre and as a rant. I would describe it as neither.
  • Handelman reported what was in the audio was Krill’s “hatred for his own profession and religion.”  Actually no.  If you listen to the full audio, it’s clear his love for teaching children and his love for his religion is why he cares so deeply about the breakdown within its own institution.  A news organization should be smart enough to distinguish this.
  • Handelman mentions how the full audio was taken down, but not before they were able to attain it and post it on their website for all to listen to.   He seemed very proud of this.  But should he be? That’s like if a teacher leaves his/her diary on the podium for the night and reporters came in to photocopy the pages.  Sure it was out there, but these were supposed to be his own private thoughts and I find no distinction between an audio or written diary that was accidentally placed out in the open to see (or listen to).
  • At the 1:14 mark in the news segment, when Handelman is questioning Krill’s mental state, Fox News 6 decides to put the most crazy, unflattering photo Krill has probably ever taken.
  • This is the REALLY bad part.  In the news segment, at the :55 second mark, Fox 6 decided to edit two audio clips together (the “I always hated school” clip and the “Christian school clip”) to make it appear as one incoherent rant from Krill.  This is what is called in the business as bull shitting.   My jaw dropped when I watched the news segment.  Hell, I’m a shady, ranting blogger and even I would never edit two audio clips together making it appear as one continuous thought.  They sunk lower than me!   That’s bad.
  • After the news segment, the anchor of Fox News 6, Ted Perry, seems to make some demeaning and negative comments about Krill stating, “You make podcasts because you want people to hear what they have to say”…he then later asked, “Was he really hiding it all that well? Clearly not”.   I remember a day when you couldn’t tell the opinion of the local TV news anchor.

Now, within the news segment, they stated that many parents are fearing for their kids safety because of this audio.  I’m not sure if that was true at the time.

However, they did find one parent who stated that she found the audio scary and that she didn’t want Krill near the kids.   I am perplexed by this.  I would ask the parents, or Principal Mike O’Connor who questioned Krill’s mental state and suspended him: Why?  Why do you feel that way?  What in that 7 minute audio clip makes you question his mental state?  What in that 7 minute audio clip, that was meant to be only for him, makes you think he is a danger to your children?   You may not agree with what he said, but there was nothing, absolutely nothing, in that audio clip to warrant such an overreaction from the school and from parents.

When Krill won the Kohl award in April of 2012, Principal O’Connor stated this:  “Mike is probably one of the most creative human beings I’ve ever met. He’s a nonstop fountain of ideas. He’s written musicals for kids to perform, started a photography club for students, and created a summer school science program for kids,”

When Krill reworked a program called Mad Science and found a way to cut costs and make it more affordable for more families, O’Connor stated”The numbers (attending the course) have exploded,”.  He then later said, “But, that’s Mike. He’s a kid magnet and they learn so much from him.”  These quotes are from a Living Lake Country article that you can read here. 

What really has changed?  Nothing.  And that is why Mike Krill should be immediately reinstated with a full apology from the school that suspended him.

But don’t take my word for it, here is the full audio, decide for yourself.

Click here to view Video of 6th Grade Turkified Thanksgiving – Nature Hill

Click here to view Video of 6th Grade Digital Learning Day Podcast – Nature Hill

Click here to view Mike Krill’s Website

Full Disclosure:  I happen to know the brother of Mike Krill.  With that being said, no one has influenced me or has pointed me in any direction whatsoever.  These opinions are mine and mine alone.  I do not believe I have ever met Mike Krill and if I have, I do not remember.  The only reason this piece interested me enough to write it was because of the subject matter.  As a ranty blogger, I am passionate about the separation of a person’s private and professional life.

 

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19 Responses to Nature Hill Teacher Suspension Unwarranted

  1. John Casper says:

    Great reporting, thanks.

  2. BWD says:

    Sir, while I may earn disdain from you for being a Conservative woman, I applaud you for this post. How one unhinged mother could carry this story this far is beyond me. She obviously doesn’t know this incredible man. We want our teacher back! Mike is the best!

  3. Erin W. says:

    Nailed it! 🙂 Thank you for accurately dissecting Mr. Krill’s main points. Mike is the most innovative and energetic teacher out there…his ability to get students engaged in learning is unmatched. And it is a shame that the bizarre knee-jerk reaction of one loud-mouth parent and crack-pot reporter Ben Handelman, has to affect this fantastic teacher’s future (and the future of the students he may not get to teach anymore). It’s a sad state of affairs this world we live in… 🙁

  4. Mikey says:

    Look at the schedule at FOX 6. 11 hours of local “news” a day. Not counting Sunday packer shows and their right wing morning circle jerk. Channel 4 now interviews that ugly toad Jeff Wagner everyday. WISN is a touch better but Mike Gousha sure loves playing softball with every winger that appears. There is basically a total right wing saturation of TV, Radio and print in town.

  5. Zachary says:

    Adam, thanks for reporting on this, and thanks for setting the record straight. It’s a shame the mainstream media has twisted this to suit their own needs.

  6. Truman Burbank says:

    Mr. Schabow-

    Mr. Krill could be the voice of thousands, if not millions of dissatisfied workers all over the world not happy with the conditions with which they work under, not enjoying what they do and not believing in what they are doing thus feeling no satisfaction. NOW…if people do listen to the whole recording..Mr. Krill takes it to a new level by stating that GOD is the only truth and everything else is just a lie and those who do not embrace God will be taken over by the devil and go to hell..THAT IS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE RECORDING.

    BTW..Mr.Krill states that he has been treated poorly by the church in the past and that is why he left that..Yet, now God is the only answer. Mr. Krill also felt he was treated badly by another school and thus left that as well. SO, Mr. Krill has more than just a few issues going on within himself and things that he feels “treat him poorly”

    Guess what, there will always be problems whether one is an employee or the employer. If Mr. Krill is so unhappy then he has the choice to change directions and do something else…BUT wait..he wants/needs the money…Put a plan together and make a decision and change course because this religious garbage that GOD is the only answer and everything else is bullsh*t most likely just set him back in more than one way in his professional career.

    • BWD says:

      Based upon your numerous unhinged postings I’ve seen on the internet, I would hazard to say someone like you ought not throw stones!

      • Truman Burbank says:

        BWD-

        Feel free to point to any of my “unhinged” postings with links.

        Watch out for that Devil! I pray for your soul.

        Thanks for the laugh.

        • BWD says:

          http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/oconomowoc-teachers-rant-about-education-religion-prompts-suspension-b9996613z1-223443391.html

          Good to know anonymous types like you, causing misery for others, always end up getting what they have coming to them. Watch out, Truman! All those hidden cameras must be getting to you. Thank YOU for the laugh!

          • Truman Burbank says:

            BWD-

            I’m still laughing and you need to be a little more clear than just posting a link to the original JSOnline story that this whole ordeal is about.

            Now, please, point out my “unhinged” pos/ts and if you need to copy & paste…feel free.

            BTW..I love a good game of tennis and I am setting up for the overhead smash.

            • Truman Burbank says:

              BWD-

              I’m going to finish this off since you chickened out…Is the following post of mine what you are referring to as UNHINGED? 😉

              GUESS WHAT..(which I’m sure you already know and don’t want others to realize)…This dialogue was taken from Mr. Krill’s audio podcast and I just inserted CCAP in place of where Mr. Krill used the word EDUCATION/SYSTEM.

              It was fun and all one has to do is listen to Mr. Krills audio in full to realize what I did in response to someones bashing of CCAP.

              AMEN

              Truman Burbank – Thursday at 11:13 PM – Report Abuse
              00

              I have an issue with the way in which CCAP is set up…period. I like pushing the limits of CCAP..I don’t agree with anything about CCAP, I don’t agree with the way CCAP is set up, I think it’s boring, I think it’s a waste of time, I don’t think it does anything for anybody at al,l except to point out all of the negative things that take place.

              It’s all fake, it makes no sense to me. I’ve never liked CCAP..Now, as an adult, it’s all a lie and a waste of time. The truth is a big lie. God has complete control over our destiniys and all the things that we do. If we deny God, the devil will take us and we will go to hell. It’s that simple. That’s the truth. None of it matters at all. There’s no point.

              CCAP is a scam. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing about CCAP anymore? I’m sorry that I sinned and ask for forgiveness. Just walk away from CCAP. That’s all I have to say. I don’t know what I want and I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing and that’s just it. It’s annoying, it’s boring and I should do. I walked away from the church when I was being treated poorly, I walked away Mike’s school when I was being treated poorly and now I want to walk away from CCAP that makes no sense to me at all. It’s all just pointless. It’s annoying and it’s boring. That’s just the truth, amen.

    • Adam Schabow says:

      Dear Truman Burbank (although I’m pretty sure you’re not Jim Carrey),

      Christians believe that if you don’t believe in God, you go to Hell. How exactly did Krill take the “God” thing to “a new level”? I’m not understanding your logic.

      Also, we must remember, that these thoughts and expressions were supposed to be his and his alone. Have you ever bitched about your job? I have many time and I am one of the few people out there that actually loves his job.

      If that’s all you got on why you think Krill’s suspension is warranted, than you’ve got a pretty thin case, my friend.

      • Truman Burbank says:

        Mr. Schabow-

        Unfortunately, Mr. Krill’s thoughts and expressions became public.

        What happens if Mr. Krill starts going off in class about how if those who don’t embrace GOD will
        be taken over by the devil and go to hell?

        How is a parent to feel knowing they are sending in their child into a classroom with a teacher who doesn’t believe in anything he is doing/teaching and it’s all just a bunch of lies and a waste of time?

        The dam has broken and there’s no turning back.

        Who is going to know if this was a 1 time “slip up” or there’s more to come down the line and if so; what, where, why, when and how?

        • Truman Burbank says:

          AND…If something does happen down the line and the school did not take any action against the wishes of some concerned parents , then all hell is going to break loose and lawsuits will start flying among other things…

  7. Adam Schabow says:

    Wow…you ARE paranoid. I can see why you chose the name Truman Burbank.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NQDVwh5rMg

    First of all, you are REALLY stretching it with the God thing. He’s a Christian that believes if you don’t believe in God, you go to hell. What is so fringe about that? If you are afraid for the kid’s safety for Krill stating this very basic Christian belief, than you are going to have fire 75% of the teachers out there.

    As for your “how should the parents feel” argument, as a parent, they should feel proud that they have a teacher who is passionate and cares deeply for his profession that he wants to change the fundamental problems within the institution. He’s not just sludging his way through it.

    Finally, why do you feel there would be more than one “slip up”? Why do think he would do this on purpose or maliciously? You’re just making shit up now.

    • Truman Burbank says:

      Adam-

      So much for the unbiased reporting. 🙂

      Must have struck a raw nerve.

      That’s too bad.

      Though what would be interesting is to hear the dialogue going on between Mr. Krill and his psychiatrist/therapist now that “Krill is seeking counseling to explore issues that might have led to the recording.”

      Maybe that could also accidentally be leaked for everyone to hear what’s going on.

      http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/oconomowoc-teachers-rant-about-education-religion-prompts-suspension-b9996613z1-223443391.html

      • Adam Schabow says:

        It may make you feel good to think struck a raw nerve with me, but honestly, truly, you didn’t. I’m just trying to understand where you are coming from. Your logic just doesn’t make too much sense to me.

        I do think it’s very clear in the article that this is an opinion piece, so of course I have a view on the matter.

        But we’re all unique and sees things in a different light. We are all unique, beautiful butterflies.

        Alright, with that…I’m done posting.

  8. Adam Schabow says:

    Also, can I just say…BWD, you are awesome and I hope you visit the site more often.

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