A black custodian for Minneapolis Public Schools is suing the district, alleging administrators failed to take seriously his claim that a white teacher cornered and sexually assaulted him on the job.
In January 2018, while Michael Jubiter worked his shift at Justice Page Middle School, a math teacher he had never met called out, “Hi, sexy,” to Jubiter, according to the lawsuit.
A week later, while standing in front of the elevator, Jubiter noticed the same teacher briskly approach him from behind. The teacher, who is unnamed in court documents, pushed Jubiter up against the elevator and grabbed his nipples, the suit said.
“The sexual harassment and sexual assault was weird and alarming and [Jubiter] felt disrespected and humiliated and violated because of sexual nature of it, the violence of it, and the danger of pushing [Jubiter] from behind into an elevator shaft door,” according to the lawsuit. “The sexual harassment and sexual assault degraded [Jubiter] as a heterosexual male African American disabled person.”
Attorneys for Minneapolis Public Schools did not respond to request for comment. Jubiter’s lawyer declined to comment.
The lawsuit alleges Jubiter reported the incident to the school’s principal and Minneapolis police.
In the report, Jubiter said the teacher “grabbed both of [his] nipples and squeezed them.” Jubiter “tried to lock the suspect’s arms in tight as a self-defense counter when it initially happened because he thought he was being attacked and didn’t know who was behind him,” according to the police report.
Minneapolis police later closed the case after an investigation determined the criminal allegation of sexual molestation was “unfounded,” according to police records.
The day after the incident, the principal interviewed the math teacher, who said: “I did not mean anything by that. I came up to and gave him a side hug. And I may have accidentally touched his chest. I did not mean to do anything.”
The lawsuit alleges video surveillance shows a different story: “This was not a friendly ‘side hug’ as the male math teacher claimed. This was a sudden, dangerous shove toward an elevator shaft, and a disgusting sexual affront to a person with less status by the larger supervisor male math teacher.”
School officials expressed frustration that Jubiter had gone to the police, the lawsuit states. They told him: “I’m sending you to another school. Report to Lyndale Community School at 1:00 P.M. on Monday.”
A “degraded” Jubiter did as told, the lawsuit said. He since has faced continued reprisal from staff throughout the school district, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Wednesday, alleges the school district violated Jubiter’s civil rights through its handling of the case, including aiding and abetting the reprisal, harassment and negligence.
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036