City officials have formally rejected a federal panel's charge they discriminated against the former principal of an Arabic-themed public school.
As a result, supporters of Debbie Almontaser, the ousted founder of Brooklyn's Khalil Gibran International Academy, said Wednesday they are launching a new lawsuit because the city won't come to the table to negotiate a settlement. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found earlier this month that the Education Department had pushed Almontaser, an Arab and a Muslim, to resign and that the agency discriminated on "the basis of her race, religion, and national origin."
"The EEOC's finding of discrimination is thorough and persuasive," said Alan Levine, a lawyer for Almontaser, said in a statement Wednesday. "The DOE's cavalier dismissal of that finding is stark evidence that the merits of the ruling played no part in its refusal to engage in conciliation discussions."
Almontaser's supporters are also urging the U.S. Justice Department to sue.
The city Law Department formally rejected the commission's findings as unsubstantiated.
"As we've previously stated, the Department of Education did not discriminate against Ms. Almontaser," city lawyer Paul Marks said Wednesday. "The EEOC's determination was totally unfounded."
Just days after the findings were announced, Education Department officials replaced the principal of Khalil Gibran.
Beshir Abdellatif became the school's fourth leader -- and the first Arab and Muslim to head the school since Almontaser resigned.