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Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Principal Who Bullied and Harassed Child of Gay Parents

Kasongo Kalumbula threatened to kill him if he told of punishments.

Kasongo Kalumbula (Screenshot / CBS 58)

Milwaukee, WI — A newly filed federal lawsuit alleges a current MPS principal bullied and harassed a first grade student for having gay parents while he was an assistant principal at another school.

The lawsuit also named the Milwaukee School Board of Directors.

It alleges former assistant principal Kasongo Kalumbula physically and verbally abused the child, singled him out for discipline, and yelled homophobic slurs at his parents. The suit says the unnamed student remains in psychological treatment for trauma and anxiety caused by the alleged abuse.

Kalumbula allegedly told a first grader his parents would “burn in hell”, he called those parents “queers” in an argument, locked the child in a dark room, and threatened to kill him if he told anyone about it.

The lawsuit was filed by civil rights attorney Elisabeth Lambert. She wrote at least three other LGBTQ+ families left the school because of Kalumbula’s “discriminatory attitudes”.

Kalumbula was the assistant principal at the Milwaukee French Immersion School from the fall of 2018 until sometime during the 2021-2022 school year.

At one point, the child was bullied on the playground. 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 then “began a campaign of harassing and threatening conduct targeting” the child over the next several years.

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.

According to the suit, the child was bullied by other students in the spring of 2021 for having gay parents.

Kalumbula told the child most people believe it’s wrong to be gay, and that he had been raised to believe that gay people are “evil” and will “burn in hell”.

The suit claims the child’s parents repeatedly tried to discuss the situation with the district, but “at no point did anyone from the MPS administration offer supportive services or protective measures.”

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

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.”

The suit says hostility from staff was so severe the parents removed their children from the school mid-year and moved them to another district.

The child remains in treatment for anxiety and trauma.

Kasongo Kalumbula is currently the principal at MPS’s Bethune Academy.

A spokesperson for MPS emailed the following response to requests for comment on the allegations:

In accordance with District policy and Federal and State law, the District does not comment on the circumstances of our individual students and their families. Personnel matters are addressed according to District policy.

The District takes its responsibility for students seriously and acts when issues are identified.

We reached out to Kasongo Kalumbula via his current MPS contact information, but he also has not yet responded to the allegations.

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