The city Education Department discriminated against the former principal of a controversy-plagued Arabic-themed public school when they forced her to resign, a federal commission ruled this week.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vindicated Debbie Almontaser, who helped found Brooklyn's Khalil Gibran International Academy.
An ethnic Arab and a Muslim, she resigned amid a firestorm of criticism about the school's theme, later claiming city officials threatened to close the school if she didn't leave.
"DOE succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel," the commission wrote this week, finding Almontaser faced discrimination on "the basis of her race, religion, and national origin."
Almontaser's lawyer, Alan Levine, said he was "gratified." "Debbie Almontaser was victimized twice, first when she was subjected to an ugly smear campaign orchestrated by anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigots, and second when the DOE capitulated to their bigotry," he said.
Almontaser is still seeking to return to the job of leading Khalil Gibran.
But Paul Marks, Deputy Chief of the city Law Department, said the commission's findings were "without any basis whatsoever" and that the city intends to continue to defend itself.
"The DOE in no way discriminated against Ms. Almontaser and she will not be reinstated," he said.