Elmbrook, we’ve got a problem

The more I hear about Elmbrook’s handling of the arrest of history teacher and coach Mike (Michael) Sprinkel, the more frustrated I am with the district.

As I mentioned last night, Facebook shut down a group discussing the problem. I never saw the group (nor did I receive an invitation, although I do to many of the things the kids set up) so I don’t know if they were missing the mark. My instinct says the district intervened. Facebook only acts on complaint. I was instantly reminded of the last paragraph of the letter the school sent. I e-mailed the principal and administration to ask if they contacted Facebook.

To be honest, I’m thinking about restarting the group myself. Although the district asked students to head to the counselors, the counselors at East have a very lackluster reputation. It’s pretty well known that they are good at pushing the AP programs and scaring students about why they won’t get into a good college, but they don’t get very high marks for managing the big stuff. That’s why I don’t fault the students for trying to make sense of this issue on their own. Kids do a pretty good job of distilling information. They evidently still need to talk.

I discovered a clue to this teacher’s behavior that the district missed. In a classroom skit a student portrayed the teacher as “Mike Sprinkel: (un)Registered Sex Offender.” Teens don’t label like that without a reason.

Earlier I doubted student contact. Now I’m questioning that assumption. I hope the district spends less time on facilities and more time on students in the next few weeks. It’s becoming more clear that Elmbrook has a problem.


  1. BrkfldDad says:

    Facebook is nice, but… unregulated. If the group took on any of the characteristics of other student-established groups, it probably wasn’t constructive. Thanks to commercially available software, I am able to screen what my kids are doing online. The student groups, especially when it comes to groups established to mark a sporting event (BCHS vs BEHS, BCHS vs MUHS, BEHS vs Tosa East, etc…), often become vile dens of foul language, morally corrupt posts and just in general play nonsense. They serve no good. I can see where a group on Mr. Sprinkel may have gotten out of hand quickly and was shut down, or requested to be shut down, by any number of parties.

  2. Yes, in a query to the youngest I heard the grapevine proclaim language was a problem.

    I’m also hearing East principal Brett Bowers knew of an incident with this teacher last year. I may be in over my head here, but it’s time to ask more questions.

  3. Former Student says:

    Came across your blog while searching for updated Spinkel information I am a former student and just wanted to drop my two cents in about the facebook group:
    1. The names of the two groups alone were enough to shut the groups down without ever evaluating the content of the group itself. I’m sure facebook caught the titles alone and shut it down themselves….I think Brett Bowers has a few more important things to deal with than monitoring facebook.

    2.The digs on his wife and family were also un-called for in both of these facebook groups, and it’s a shame that anyone, high schoolers included, would stoop that low.

    I’d LOVE to hear what this incident was with Sprinkel last year because my guess is this is just Brookfield running it’s mouth again. The district and school have both said that there is no evidence to suggest that students were ever at risk. Amazing that you can find some! Keep us posted.

  4. Former student: 1) I had heard that as well, and 2) you’re right, that’s a shame. (I never saw the sites myself.)

    I’ll keep asking questions. This source has been reliable before.