EEOC finds NYC Department of Education Discriminated: News Roundup

The NYC DOE does many things to support religious and cultural tolerance in its schools, and we support them in doing so. Still, this week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that the city had acted discriminatorily,  forcing the founding principal of the city’s only Arabic-language public school to resign.
Back in 2007 Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim of Yemeni descent, was appointed principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy. Although Almontaser had a reputation as a “moderate Muslim” dedicated to building understanding, opponents mounted a campaign against her and the school calling her a “9/11 denier” and a “jihadist.”
The conflict came to a head that August, when Ms. Almontaser’s opponents, who had formed the Stop the Madrassa Coalition, asserted that she was connected to T-shirts bearing the words “Intifada NYC.” While Ms. Almontaser was on the board of an organization that rented space to the group that distributed the shirts, she was unaware of them, she said. (The commission determined that she had no connection to the T-shirts.)
The DOE allededly forced her to resign, giving into her anti-Muslim and anti-Arab critics. Her lawyer claims she was the victim of a smear campaign. The DOE says it is not guilty of discrimination and will fight the charges and her reinstatement.
After the EEOC announcement was made, the current principal of KGIA resigned.
KGIA is one of our educational partners, and is a great school dedicated to preparing its students to be open-minded global citizens. We’ll continue reporting on this story as it unfolds.
In other news, riots broke out in Jerusalem and the West Bank when the Israeli government announced its plan to build 1600 homes in a disputed part of the city. American-mediated peace talks between Palestine and Israel are expected to continue despite the recent events.
And to finish up, here are updates on some of the stories we covered last Friday.
See you next Friday!