Table of Contents
- Petition for Accountability from St. Anthony Teachers and Staff
- Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at St. Anthony High School
- St. Anthony Choir Teacher Michael Shafer Accused of Racism and Physical Abuse
- St. Anthony Hall Monitor Eddie Estrada Allegedly Made Sexual Advances to Minors
- St. Anthony Teacher Todd Niklaus Accused of Groping a Minor and Unwanted Sexual Advances
- New Superintendent Dr. Renee Corneille Performing an Investigation
- Come forward with any new information
On June 22nd, 2020 the St. Anthony New Brighton school district disseminated communication regarding an investigation into allegations of racism and sexual misconduct at St. Anthony High School. The link included led to a boiler plate article about the seriousness of the allegations and how the employee (Todd Niklaus) had been placed on administrative leave. Since the initial communication was sent out, many new allegations have come to light as well as new allegations of racism, homophobia and predatory behavior from St. Anthony choir teacher Michael Shafer and hall monitor Eddie Estrada. It wasn’t just one faculty member that was accused of impropriety it was now three. A change.org petition had popped up and at the time of writing this post is sitting at 2300 signatures.
Petition for Accountability from St. Anthony Teachers and Staff
The petition talks about a pervasive “culture perpetuating sexual harassment and enabling inappropriate behavior” at St. Anthony Highschool. It also mentions allegations of “inappropriate relationships with students to sexual harassment and assault.” The crux of the petition is a call to action directly to the superintendent herself, Dr. Renee Corneille. The petition asks anyone who has been assaulted or mistreated by a faculty member to call or email Dr. Corneille immediately and share your experiences as best you can.
Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at St. Anthony High School
In the comments section of the change.org petition you can find accusations against Todd Niklaus the head football coach at Saint Anthony Highschool. These posts allege a long history of unacceptable sexual behaviors and unwanted advances toward minors, and abuses of power. One such post reads: “All the girls at St. Anthony have a story about Mr. Niklaus. I was fifteen. In ninth grade, I thought it was normal for a man in his late 30s- early 40s to stare at the bodies of teenage girls. Boys our age would give a passing glance to us, but Mr. Niklaus would just gawk unabashedly. That’s not all though, he’d scope out vulnerable girls like a predator, and see how far he could take things….” The poster then goes on to talk about her experience with Niklaus involving unsubstantiated accusations on his behalf that led to an unauthorized and inappropriate frisking that took place in 2003.
While looking through the petition and it’s comment section some screenshots of tweets, facebook messages and comments regarding more allegations against Todd Niklaus, and two other faculty members of the St. Anthony New Brighton school district began to surface, more and more people were coming forward with allegations every minute. The two other faculty members named were Eddie Estrada, and Michael Shafer.
St. Anthony Choir Teacher Michael Shafer Accused of Racism and Physical Abuse
Michael Shafer, the choir director for Saint Anthony high school, is being accused of racism, homophobia and physical abuse. Multiple alumni have come forward and discussed an incident where he called a student, who was a person of color, a monkey and mimed peeling a banana in front of the whole class. Another student talks about being shoved into lockers when he tried to stick up for a student who was being verbally abused by Michael Shafer in front of the class. He has also been reported several times according to the posts, and remained employed by the St. Anthony New Brighton School district. Many parents and students have expressed disgust with the St. Anthony Superintendent and St. Anthony New Brighton school board for their lack of action. It seems many new accusations are coming to light every minute on social media, citing verbal and physical at the hands of Michael Shafer as well as inappropriate relationships with past students.
St. Anthony Hall Monitor Eddie Estrada Allegedly Made Sexual Advances to Minors
Eddie Estrada is an attendance and hall monitor who works in the ISS office at St. Anthony Highschool. One of the victims to come forward talked about Eddie Estrada’s unwanted sexual advances when she was 15,and through texts with her friend her parents found out and complained to the principal of the highschool, the middle school, and to the superintendent. They were told that there would be a third party present with her in the room, rather than her being alone in a room with Eddie Estrada. Another account talks about how Eddie Estrada would brag about cheating on his wife when they were alone together.
More allegations of sexual abuse have emerged from Eddie Estrada’s previous employment at the Litchfield High School as a softball coach. Eddie Estrada is currently employed at Talahi Elementary School in St. Cloud Minnesota and is allowed to be around Kindergarten 1st and 2nd graders.
St. Anthony Teacher Todd Niklaus Accused of Groping a Minor and Unwanted Sexual Advances
Todd Niklaus is the head coach and dean of the St. Anthony High school. He has been accused of inappropriate touching, staring up young girls skirts, staring at young girls breasts, requesting photos of girls, and inappropriate personal conversations with girls. The most damning accusation was that he groped a young girl’s butt, only to claim he was taking a piece of lint off of the back of her leggings. This was reported to the administration who took no apparent action.
There is a pattern emerging in all the accounts and accusations. Every time impropriety is reported to the administration in charge of the St. Anthony New Brighton public school district, it appears to be disregarded. If the victims and complaints are to be believed this has been going on for at least 20 years, maybe even longer. The petition is a sign that the students demand a meaningful change to this pattern.
New Superintendent Dr. Renee Corneille Performing an Investigation
This change could indeed be in the works as Dr. Renee Cornielle was only appointed the superintendent of the St. Anthony New Brighton public school district just two years ago on July 1st, 2018. But she has yet to make any direct statements regarding the allegations against Todd Niklaus, Michael Shafer, and Eddie Estrada. There has also been no comment on the way the district has responded to allegations in the past. But it should be noted that there is some sort of investigation going on for possibly one of these men, as no one was named that assumption can not be made. One can only hope that all of the allegations are also placed under strict scrutiny, as well as anyone involved in investigating previous complaints against them.
Come forward with any new information
It is strongly encouraged that anyone who has similar experiences with these men or any other faculty members in the St Anthony New Brighton public school district should come forward and speak their truth. The superintendent can be reached via email or phone, and that information can be accessed via the ISD282 website or the change.org petition.