Arabic Language School Prinicpal Sues Over Firing

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The city is set to select a new principal this Thursday for the Arabic-language school it opened this fall. But a federal judge could intervene and force the city to reconsider the application of the school's founding principal – Debbie Almontaser. WNYC's Marianne McCune reports.

Debbie Almontaser is suing the city because, she says, officials forced her to resign after a her explanation of the word "intifadah" in The New York Post caused an uproar. She says the city had no right to fire her for exercising her right to free speech. She wants her job back and she's asking the judge to force the city to review her qualifications impartially.

Over 2 days of testimony, Almontaser told the judge of her achievements in education and interfaith cooperation, and her success in designing and implementing the Khalil Gibran International Academy. She wept when she described a meeting with the Deputy Mayor for Education, saying he told her the city would not open the school if she did not resign before the mayor's radio show.

The city has said it did not force Almontaser to resign, and that her application to return was rejected because of concerns over the school's stability. For WNYC, I'm Marianne McCune.

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