The ousted principal of New York City’s first Arabic-language school has sued the city’s Department of Education.
Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, resigned under pressure this summer after she defended the use of the expression “Intifada NYC” on a T-shirt being sold by an Arab women’s group. The comment drew fire from many quarters, including from Jewish critics such as state Assemblyman Dov Hikind and columnist Daniel Pipes.
On Monday, Almontaser filed a lawsuit in federal district court claiming that her right to free speech had been violated, according to news reports. The suit also alleges that the department, along with its chancellor, Joel Klein, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg “conspired to deny her the opportunity to regain her position as principal.”
Almontaser reportedly is seeking financial compensation for damage done to her career and reputation, as well as her emotional distress.