Friends’ Central School Fires Teachers Suspended Over Guest Speaker

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two Friends’ Central teachers suspended after they invited a Palestinian speaker to the Quaker school have now been fired.

Suspended teachers Ariel Eure and Layla Helwa each received letters from Friends’ Central Head of School Craig Sellers, saying they were being fired effective June 30, according to their attorney, Mark Schwartz.

The two had been on administrative leave since February, after they invited a Palestinian speaker to address a student club.

The letter offers the teachers severance pay of $5,500 if they agree to drop their federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint. Schwartz says his clients say, “no way…”

“They want to proceed with their claims. They want to be in some sort of a forum that Craig Sellers doesn’t control,” said Schwartz.

A statement from school said:

“The decision not to renew these teachers’ contracts was the result of a deliberate and thoughtful Quaker decision-making process, the details of which will remain confidential. Academic excellence, attention to individual students, opportunities for leadership, and Quaker values have and will continue to be hallmarks of a Friends’ Central education. Our graduates translate the education they receive here to success in their top choice colleges, in professions that are as varied as our students’ interests, and in community life.”

The school is also re-inviting Dr. Sa’ed Atshan to speak on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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