February 1, 2008

February 1, 2008 – On Tuesday, February 5th, a 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Almontaser v. New York City Department of Education, a federal lawsuit charging the DOE with violating the First Amendment rights of Debbie Almontaser, a highly respected educator who was denied the opportunity to interview for the principal position at the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) in Brooklyn. In 2005, Ms. Almontaser was asked by New Visions for Public Schools, an educational reform organization that assists DOE in establishing new schools, to participate in the development of KGIA and then to become its founding principal. KGIA was designed as a school that would focus on Arabic language and cultural studies, and, as one of its missions, would promote understanding between New York’s Arab and non-Arab communities.

Subsequently, as a result of a series of attacks on the school provoked by an Anti-Arab interest group unaffiliated with the School led to an article in the New York Post that quoted Ms. Almontaser on a matter completely unrelated to KGIA. As a result of the publication of the story, the DOE forced her to resign her post and further, denied her the opportunity to even apply for the job of permanent principle of KGIA thereby violating her right to free speech. Ms. Almontaser is asking the Court to reinstate her lawsuit for an injunction compelling the DOE to interview her for the job of principal and for damages.

Ms. Almontaser’s case will be argued by Alan Levine.

WHAT: Oral Arguments in Almontaser v. NYC Department of Education
WHEN: Tuesday, February 5th, Calendar call at 10:00 am
WHERE: U.S. COURTHOUSE, 500 Pearl Street, Manhattan

David Lerner, President
Riptide Communications, Inc.
Suite 1300
270 Lafayette Street,
New York, New York 10012
(212) 260-5000