Now Boerum Hill parents angered by Arabic school

To the editor,

I am a parent of a seventh grader at Math and Science Exploratory School, into whose building the Khalil Gibran International Academy is now, suddenly, slated to go (“Slope Ousts Arabic School,” May 12).

This week, the Department of Education distributed to parents a description of the Gibran Academy relocation as a fait accompli. The arrogance is truly stunning. Upon receiving the news, parents organized an emergency meeting. Use of the word “emergency” pretty much encapsulates how the parent body feels about this news. It has sent us into turmoil.

No one wants the Gibran Academy here, and yet the Department of Education seems intent on shoving it down our throats regardless of community reaction. Just today, the DOE made it clear that they considered the issue non-negotiable.

I have also learned from [name deleted] that the Department of Education has put a gag order on our school administrators, who have been instructed not to talk with the press.

This is stunning to me.

Katia Lief, Boerum Hill

Blame The Brooklyn Paper

To the editor,

I found it interesting to note that in your “chronology” of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the New York Sun, a decidedly right wing newspaper carrying the column of a racist Daniel Pipes, was mentioned twice, while articles from the New York Times (“Plan for Arabic School Draws Protests,” May 3) and the International Herald Tribune (“Letter from America: A new public school in New York creates a storm,” May 6), among many other balanced media reports, were never mentioned (“Timeline of a debacle,” May 12).

The Brooklyn Paper is partly to blame for the incendiary atmosphere surrounding the opening of the school, most notably through your “Holy War” headline last month.

The one good thing to come out of this for me, personally, is my being able to confirm to myself the hypocrisy and double standards of so-called liberal Park Slopers, including its press.

Anthony Vassallo, Park Slope

Editor’s note: The letter is somewhat contradictory, accusing The Brooklyn Paper of only covering opposition to the Gibran Academy, then claiming The Paper had a double-standard. In fact, our coverage reported on the strong opposition and the strong support for the Gibran Academy from Park Slope and elsewhere. This paper did not take an editorial position on the school itself.

My god!

To the editor,

I consider your coverage of the Gibran School to be almost as poor as your coverage of the Atlantic Yards is excellent. I wish you had used less sensationalist language and headlines, and I wish you hadn’t given New York Sun columnists Daniel Pipes and Alicia Colon such credence by repeating their slander on your front page without refuting it.

I consider the whole thing not a “debacle,” but an achievement against great odds. It’s sad how a vision of harmony and peace gets such treatment: “Slope Ousts Arabic School,” “City Caves,” and “Holy War,” etc.

The actual stories were not inaccurate, I’ll grant that, but the way they were pitched was hurtful.

Daniel Meeter, Park Slope

The writer is the pastor at the Old First Reformed Church and is on the Advisory Council of the Kahlil Gibran International Academy.

There is support!

To the editor,

I heard about the developing plans for the Gibran Academy last year, and I was pleased and excited hear by the idea. I think we are fortunate to live in such a diverse borough that has so many public-spirited people — parents, community members, and educators — willing to give up so much personal time to put together a new school.

It is very clear to me that the Gibran Academy will focus on Arabic culture and not be a school with a religious curriculum.

So I have found it terribly sad that The Brooklyn Paper is still receiving — and printing — letters from people who insist the school will be teaching “Islamic” studies. Such letters are filled with inaccurate statements, and offensive, hurtful stereotyping.

I suppose that printing these letters does at least have the benefit of demonstrating the ignorance that exists in our community, and thus highlights one of the positive changes that the Gibran Academy could bring.

But if you do continue print letters filled with insults and falsities could you also please include some voices of support? I think that would allow for a more accurate reflection of Brooklyn.

Sarah Flanagan, Windsor Terrace

Editor’s note: We are happy to oblige. But, as Flanagan noted, our objective in printing letters is merely to demonstrate the broad range of opinions on an issue, as part our mission of informing the public.