An educator who helped create New York City's first Arabic-themed public school sued the city, saying her rights were violated after public reaction to statements she made during an interview led officials to pressure her to resign as principal.
Debbie Almontaser said in the lawsuit filed Monday that she was forced to resign in August from the Khalil Gibran International Academy after she was criticized for not condemning the use of the word "intifada" on a T-shirt made by a youth organization.
She said in the lawsuit that the meaning of her words was distorted after she told a reporter that "intifada" emerged from a root word meaning "shake off" and that the word has different meanings for different people but certainly implies violence to many, especially in connection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
At a rally outside US District Court in Manhattan, Almontaser listened as lawyers, educators and two city councilmen criticized the city and called for her to be reinstated as principal.
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