March 21, 2008
By Mary Frost
BROOKLYN — The Second U.S. Court of Appeals Thursday upheld a district court’s denial of a demand by the founding principal of a Brooklyn Arabic-themed public school to get her job back while waiting for her case to wind its way through the court system.
The judges also made it clear in their decision, as well as in court at the hearing, that they did not believe the DOE treated Debbie fairly when they forced her to resign
While it has been reported in the media that this decision means the city cannot be forced to return Debbie Almontaser to her position as principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), the longtime educator’s supporters say that this is inaccurate.
According to Almontaser’s lawyer, Alan Levine, the case is now being sent back to the district court without affirming the district court’s interpretation of a central point: Judge Sidney Stein’s ruling that Almontaser’s speech on the word, intifada was not constitutionally protected.
“We will contact the court next week seeking a conference, where we’ll talk about what the next stage of litigation will be,” Levine told the Brooklyn Eagle Friday.
“Eventually if the case proceeds, she will prevail because: one, it seems beyond question that she was forced to resign because of her public remarks, which are constitutionally protected; and two, when she reapplied for the permanent position, the community superintendent rubber-stamped Commissioner Klein’s prior determination that she not be placed back as principal.” Read More…