Speaking exclusively with NY1, the woman who had the idea for the first Arabic language school in Brooklyn opened up Monday about her recent win in court.
Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the Department of Education discriminated against Debbie Almontaser in 2007 when they forced her to resign.
Almontaser had gotten the go-ahead to found the Khalil Gibran International Academy -- a school she envisioned would provide knowledge and understanding of Arab language and culture. But controversy erupted over the school's theme and teachings before it even opened its doors.
Almontaser calls it a smear campaign which she says the DOE caved in to.
"What I experienced was very dramatic," Almontaser said. "It was something that shook my core that people and 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."
"The DOE instead repudiated the mission of the school, repudiated what Debbie stood for and succumbed precisely to the hatred that she and the school were designed to oppose. And that frankly was a missed opportunity on New York City government," said Almontaser's attorney, Alan Levine.
The federal commission determined the DOE discriminated against Almontaser because of her race, religion and national origin when it disqualified her as candidate for the principal position.
DOE officials say the department in no way discriminated against Almontaser and will not reinstate her.
The EEOC says the department needs to respond with some kind of settlement offer by next week.