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Former Principal Of Arab Language School To Sue DOE

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The founder and former principal of the city's new Arab language and culture school announced Tuesday evening that she is suing the Department of Education and re-applying for her job.

Debbie Almontaser resigned in August under criticism for not condemning the use of the word intifada on t-shirts. Intifada is an Arabic term commonly used to refer to the Palestinan uprising against Israel.

However, now she says the DOE violated her Constitutional rights by basically forcing her to resign and turned its back on her when the controversy got heated.

"In fact, they should have said that the attacks against me are utterly baseless," said Almontaser.

Some of the school's planning committee, religious leaders, and local lawmakers came out to support Almontaser.

“Everyone has a right to free speech,” said City Councilman John Liu. “The DOE and this administration acted totally irresponsibly and violated the trust placed in them in what they allowed to happen to Debbie Almontasser.

Brooklyn State Assemblyman Dov Hikind was one of those who protested the school since the beginning. He dismissed Almontaser's application, saying her resignation should stand.

“She decided to resign,” he said. “Whether she did it on her own, or was encouraged by the administration in the city to do that, it was a good thing that she left.”

Almontaser says she's the most qualified educator to run the school. The DOE says that it will not consider her application, although there is an active search for a new principal.

A spokesperson for the DOE also says that Almontaser is currently an employee of the DOE who is being paid about $120,000 a year.

Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn opened its doors to 55 students this September.


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