Spanish River Community High School principal William Latson’s emails about the Holocaust to a concerned parent went viral – and now he’s been fired after a petition began circulating calling for his removal.
Latson was emailing with a concerned parent in April 2018 asking about the curriculum for teaching about the Holocaust when he wrote that he wouldn’t call the genocide “a factual, historical event.”
Latson added that Holocaust studies are “dealt with in a variety of ways” but that the “curriculum is to be introduced but not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.”
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When the unidentified parent said that “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event” and “not a right or a belief,” Latson did not back down from his stance, which is widely held by modern-day Nazis and other Holocaust-deniers across the world.
“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently,” Latson wrote in a subsequent email.
“My thoughts or beliefs have nothing to do with this because I am a public servant… I work to expose students to certain things but not all parents want their students exposed so they will not be and I can’t force that issue… I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in the position to do so as a school district employee.”
This did not go over well in Palm Beach County, which has a burgeoning Jewish population.
Thousands signed an online petition calling for Mr. Latson’s resignation, and on Monday, the Palm Beach County school district announced that he would be stripped of his position as principal and reassigned to another job in the district.
Karen M. Brill, a Jewish member of the Palm Beach County school board, told The New York Times on Monday that she believed Mr. Latson needed to leave the school.
“The trust has been broken and an apology will never erase the damage caused by his comments,” she said in a phone interview. “Staying neutral and refusing to state that the Holocaust is a fact is the type of thing that leads to anti-Semitism.”