Fired teachers sue Friends' Central over Palestinian speaker controversy

They were let go last year following uproar about the invited speaker.

Mike DeNardo
May 08, 2018 - 4:51 pm

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Two Friends' Central School teachers who were fired in a controversy over a Palestinian speaker have filed suit against the Main Line Quaker school. 

The federal suit claims Friends' Central violated the civil rights of Ariel Eure and Layla Helwa. The teachers were fired last year after a Palestinian professor was invited to talk to students, and then un-invited when parents objected. Student protests also followed.

"There was an uproar, and my clients were scapegoated from it," said the teachers' attorney, Mark D. Schwartz.

Schwartz said the suit claims school leaders defamed the teachers in public statements.

"My clients are minorities, they're gay and at all times they followed what the requirements are of the school in terms of its Quaker policies," he said.

The suit seeks compensation for the teachers and punitive damages.  

Friends' Central attorney David Fryman said in a statement the suit "lacks merit," and said the school "engaged in a thorough and thoughtful Quaker process before deciding not to renew their contracts. We expect the court will agree."