Arab academy opens in BK under intense scrutiny

BOERUM HILL - An Arabic academy opened Tuesday in Boerum Hill amid high security and intense scrutiny over whether it will promote anti-American sentiment.

The Khalil Gibran International Academy opened at 345 Dean Street in a building that already houses two schools. Sixth-graders at the academy were welcomed by a media crowd and curious onlookers.

Debbie Almontaser resigned as principal after she defended the use of the word "intifada," which means uprising or rebellion, on a T-shirt. Almontaser said the word means "shaking off." She later apologized for the incident.

The Department of Education replaced Almontaser with Danielle Salzberg, a Jewish woman who does not speak Arabic, leading some to question whether she is qualified for the job.

The DOE maintains Arab culture and core subjects will be the backbone of the academy, not extreme radicalism.

The academy plans to add additional grades each year until it reaches 12th grade. The school is open to all students, regardless of race or religion.

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