Principal says ‘salaam’ to Gibran school

The city announced that the first Arabic language and culture academy will be housed in a Boerum Hill high school, just five days after parental opposition forced the city to quash a plan to house the academy in a Park Slope elementary school.

The Khalil Gibran International Academy will now share space with the Brooklyn High School of the Arts and the Math and Science Exploratory School, a middle school, both housed in a Dean Street building, between Third and Fourth avenues.

The move comes after months of wrangling between the city’s Department of Education and parents at Park Slope’s PS 282, who argued that there was no space for the academy and that it was inappropriate to house teenagers with elementary school students. But the principal of the Brooklyn High School of the Arts said his school would welcome the Gibran Academy.

“My school population is very accepting, especially to those who may be a little different,” said Principal Robert Finley. Arts schools tend to be more “open-minded” than other schools, he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education altered the Gibran Academy plan, perhaps hoping to avoid another dustup. This time, the academy will only take over three rooms and start its first year with just 60 sixth-graders instead of the originally planned 80.

“We met with the principals and parent leadership at both schools and will continue to work with both school communities to plan the best use of the space in the building to ensure the success of all three schools,” said Melody Meyer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education.

Of course not everyone is eager to welcome the Academy.

“I don’t think it’s fair because the school is already crowded,” said Tiffany Browne, a junior at the high school.

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