A federal judge Wednesday shot down a last-minute attempt by the former principal of a Brooklyn Arabic-language school to keep the city from selecting her successor.
Debbie Almontaser, the short-lived head of the new Khalil Gibran International Academy, wanted the judge to delay the selection and order someone other than Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to oversee the process.
Almontaser, who was forced to resign after a published report tried to link her to a militant Islamic group, re-applied for the job in October, but was not among the four finalists.
In August, a story in the New York Post suggested Almontaser sided with a Muslim girls' group distributing T-shirts that read "Intifada NYC."
In tearful testimony this week, Almontaser said she was trying to make a teaching point about the meaning of intifadeh when she explained to the reporter that its root translation was "shaking off oppression."
"She didn't talk about T-shirts," said Almontaser's lawyer, Alan Levine.
"She was asked the definition of intifadeh."
Almontaser's lawyers will ask a federal appeals court to overturn Judge Sidney Stein's decision.
The city said it will not resume the selection process until at least tomorrow, to give the appeals court time to hear the matter.
Stein ruled that Almontaser's free-speech rights could not have been violated since she was speaking as a school employee - not a private citizen - when she gave the interview.
He also said she should have realized that her comments would be widely reported because there was a great deal of media interest in the school controversy.