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Ex-Nicolet Coach Who Confronted Student Doubts He'll Ever Work in State Again [VIDEO]

After 15 years in education and coaching, Brad Kozaczuk said he has never been physically threatened like he was at Nicolet High School. However, administration says the evidence shows the situation never should have escalated as much as it did.

When last fall at , he thought he had finally found a place to make a name for himself.

He brought with him a winning record from numerous other schools - not only in Wisconsin, but across the country. However, after an altercation with a student and his subsequent resignation, Kozaczuk wonders if he'll ever be able to teach in Wisconsin again.

"It was an ugly situation," Kozaczuk told Patch. "There was yelling; she was swearing at me. It was a really ugly situation."

On March 30, Kozaczuk was supervising a study hall when a senior girl loudly and aggressively drew attention to a new student who was using a cell phone, which is not allowed at Nicolet. Kozaczuk asked the new student to put the phone away and said he then wanted to explain to the senior girl that there are other ways to bring attention to situations that need remedy. When she declined to follow him into the hall, sparks flew. (Click on video link to see cell phone video of the incident)

"She’s loud and swearing, yelling at me that she’s not going to go, and I can’t tell her what to do," Kozaczuk said.

He said he followed school policy and went across the hall to ask another teacher to call for administration and the school police laison officer. Kozaczuk then returned to the study hall, where he said he attempted to maintain order.

According to Kozaczuk, when he returned to the study hall he told the senior girl that he had called for the principal and police to come. He said she threatened to kick him and he replied, "If you're going to hit me, go ahead and hit me."

Kozaczuk said his reasoning for this reply was not to antagonize the girl, but get her to fully understand the statement she was making.

"Then she started to get up, gathering her things, to leave the classroom," Kozaczuk said. "I took no action against her physically at any time. I went through all the checklists of proper protocol on how to handle a procedure like that."

However, the disagreement got so heated that other students in the study hall broke out their own cell phones to film the verbal altercation.

District Administrator Rick Monroe said the incident never should have escalated to the point that it did.

"Where he went wrong here is after he asked for administration support, he should have just waited because no one was in danger," Monroe said. "No one was being threatened and it was a very minor situation that didn't warrant an escalation of this nature."

After reviewing the cell phone video and talking to both the girl and Kozaczuk, Monroe had to decide whether or not to fire him.

"I told him that it was being recommended to me by Principal (Greg) DePue that he be terminated," Monroe said. "I did tell the coach that I was inclined to agree with that recommendation, but I wouldn't make my mind up until later on in the afternoon. At that moment, he gave me his resignation already written. He just signed it and gave it to me."

Kozaczuk said his main reason for resigning was because he felt unsafe at a school where he could not defend himself against a student who was threatening to physically harm him.

"After I was threatened, I was fearful for my safety," Kozaczuk said. "Dr. Monroe, in his letter to me stated he felt that I provoked the situation by taking a defensive posture against her. That’s his opinion, but he was never there."

The senior girl who was involved in this altercation did not want to comment.

Now, Kozaczuk is out of a job, and Nicolet is seeking its fifth head football coach in as many years.

"I probably won't ever work in education in the state of Wisconsin again. There’s not too many administrations that will say, ‘That’s not the guy we want to hire. He was in the newspaper and said all this stuff,'" he said. "I’m 35, I thought this was me starting my life down here and it turns out, it wasn’t."

Katie Bucholtz April 19, 2012 at 01:50 PM
When Coach K went to the classroom across the hall for help, my daughter was in that class. I don't think people should assume that just because coach K is a football coach or a guy that he shouldn't of felt threatened. In this day and age the way kids use cellphones to call and text, within minutes.. things could of changed drastically. We all know that because we see it on the news every day. Coach was is a good guy and, at least with my daughter, he was someone who she could joke with. My daughter also said the girl in question is nice to her too. I think it just got out of hand. You can hear the kids in the background all yelling, that doesn't help any situation. No one knows what was happening in either of their lives at the time. None of us mean to but we all know if we have something weighing on us, it changes our personality and can cause us to react differently. I feel bad coach K had such a bad experience at Nicolet. I have no worries about my daughters safety there and I feel bad he doesn't feel the same. I wish him well.
Don April 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Wow 5 coaches in 5 years---something is REALLY WRONG at Nicolet HS. Maybe the administration need replacing
Sarah Worthman April 19, 2012 at 05:31 PM
For those of you voting that he overreacted, how do you think he should have handled the situation?
Independent Party April 19, 2012 at 09:29 PM
"Where he went wrong here is after he asked for administration support, he should have just waited because no one was in danger," Monroe said. "No one was being threatened and it was a very minor situation that didn't warrant an escalation of this nature."
William Fuller April 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Dr. Monroe was not there and was not threatened by a student. If it had been him I think he would have had a much different reaction to being threatened.
Nick DeMark August 17, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I've known Coach for many years now. He is a great teacher who has a real passion for working with children. If our society continues to indulge the unacceptable behavior of disrespectful and unruly children at the expense of teachers, I truly fear for our future. Nickolas DeMark

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