Just days after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided the Education Department discriminated when it forced the ex-principal of an English-Arabic academy to resign, another school head has stepped down. Meanwhile, the school's founder and former principal Debbie Almontaser spoke with NY1 (video here) telling the station it shook her to the core "that people I worked with and trusted were easily influenced with right wing propaganda, and for them to second guess and have a knee jerk reaction was quite devastating."
DOE spokesman David Cantor was adamant that Holly Anne Reichert's resignation was totally unrelated to the EEOC decision and that her mind was made up before it was even announced. Still, parents at Brooklyn's Khalil Gibran International Academy weren't alerted until Monday, when a letter was sent out citing "personal reasons" for the move. Reichert will be replaced temporarily by Beshir Abdellatif, who'll be the school's first principal of Arabic descent since Almontaser left, reports the Daily News. Almontaser's lawyer called the timing "curious" and posited that it could interpreted "as an attempt to deflect the conclusion of the [EEOC] that the DOE had engaged in discrimination."
In her interview, Almontaser—who was forced from her position in 2007 after making remarks to the Post about the word "intifada"—called the DOE's actions against her a "smear campaign" and said that she feels "vindicated" by the EEOC's announcement. Still, the DOE says the committee's findings "baseless," and promised the former principal wouldn't be reinstated.