Source: Screenshot/CBS 58

Watch: Gay Parents Sue over Principal's Alleged Harassment of their Young Son

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Physical abuse. Death threats. Confinement to a darkened room for hours on end. Those are just some of the things the gay parents of a Michigan first grader say the child suffered at the hands of a school principal – and the parents are suing.

Add to that list of alleged torments claims of verbal harassment, refusal to intercede in bullying from other students, and telling the child that his parents were destined to "burn in hell," and a picture takes shape of a scarring campaign of terror targeting an innocent little boy.

"The complaint, filed March 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, alleges Kasongo Kalumbula told the student, referred to as G.L., his parents would 'burn in hell,' and threatened to kill him if he told anyone about it," Wisconsin Public Radio reports.

"Kalumbula was G.L.'s assistant principal at Milwaukee French Immersion School at the time of the alleged incidents," the writeup details.

"The lawsuit also named the Milwaukee School Board of Directors," CBS 58 reported.

The suit says that Kalumbula "declined to protect G.L. when other students bullied him for having gay parents and targeted the boy with harsh and damaging discipline, once locking him in a dark room for hours," the report relayed, adding that the "lawsuit also details several times when G.L.'s parents reached out to MPS administrators and school board members for help but did not receive it.

"Instead, Kalumbula was promoted."

Other news sources reported on additional details.

"At one point, the child was bullied on the playground," ABC affiliate KAKE reported. "When one of his parents met with Kalumbula and the school's principal, the complaint said Kalumbula screamed at the parent, 'no queer is going to speak to me like this!'"

Kalumbula "began a campaign of harassing and threatening conduct targeting" the child over the next several years, WSP derailed.

"In the spring of 2019, Kalumbula allegedly locked the child in a dark room for more than an hour, then told the child he would kill him if he told anyone that he was locked up."

Kalumba's conduct toward the child veered into the physically abusive as well, the complaint alleges.

"In September 2021, the new principal at MFIS told Kalumbula the child's parents had reached out to her with concerns," KAKE relayed.

"The suit says that day Kalumbula approached the child in the hallway and 'shoved him against the wall.' A few days later he 'grabbed the child by the arm and pulled him into the office'."

G.L. wasn't Kalumba's sole victim, the suit alleges.

"Kalumbula has worked for MPS as an administrator since at least 2015," WPR reported. "During that time, multiple employees, students and parents have complained to MPS administration and school board members that Kalumbula engages in homophobic language, according to the complaint."

The suit also alleges that during Kalumbula's stint at French Immersion, "at least two LGBTQ+ staff members left the school because of Kalumbula's discriminatory attitudes and conduct toward them.

"Three families with LGBTQ+ parents also unenrolled their children from the school".

The suit describes how the principal's purported verbal harassment of the child left him deeply shaken – to the point that he "suffered a panic attack while on vacation at Disney World with his family.

"The panic attack was triggered because G.L. saw a gay couple holding hands," the suit adds. "G.L. began shaking, sobbing violently, and asking his parents if the gay couple he saw would 'burn in hell' as Kalumbula had told him."

The suit goes on to say that the child "remains in treatment for anxiety and trauma arising from Kalumbula's treatment of him. He suffers recurring nightmares."

What looks like a culture of homophobia extended to victim blaming. WSP reports that "When Kalumbula left French Immersion, other parents and teachers blamed G.L.'s parents on social media."

"Kasongo Kalumbula is currently the principal at MPS's Bethune Academy," KAKE noted.

To watch the CBS 58 news report, follow this link.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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