A Principal from Boca Raton, Florida has been removed from his position after an April 2018 email between himself and a parent surfaced.
William Latson, the former principal of Spanish River Community High School, emailed a parent last spring in regards to how the Holocaust would be taught.
"The clarification is that not everyone believes the Holocaust happened[.]"
Latson went on to that he:
"had the role to be politically neutral [in regards to Holocaust curriculum]."
The former principal even went as far as to say:
"I can't say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee."
Latson also told the parent that lessons about the Holocaust cannot be"
"forced upon individuals because we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs."
However, the Florida education code explicitly states that the Holocaust is to be taught.
It is listed as the seventh item under "Required instruction" in the 2018 Public Education Florida Statutes.
"The systematic, planned annihilation of European Jews and other groups by Nazi Germany, a watershed event in the history of humanity, [is] to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions."
Latson's words have sparked outrage amongst Jews and Gentiles alike.
@BuzzFeedNews Wtf?!? This was my high school principal ! He is unbelievable! 😡— JAYLENE (@JAYLENE)1562697500.0
This is terrifying...I had a history teacher that warned of this happening. She had students that thought the holoc… https://t.co/hLhHy3WLze— Teresa Warner (@Teresa Warner)1562689380.0
@AdamMilstein Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own… https://t.co/tX4PK5U0RJ— Marshall Power Locke (@Marshall Power Locke)1562435606.0
@AdamMilstein @Imamofpeace You have a right to your own beliefs, you don't have a right to your own facts.🤦🏾♂️— AussieUtahJazzFan (@AussieUtahJazzFan)1562457021.0
Florida headteacher William Latson, removed from his post for refusing to call the #Holocaust a fact despite it bei… https://t.co/aO62Aboktq— Lenny (@Lenny)1562716857.0
@ajplus I actually don’t care if the school was in the middle of Nebraska and had never had a Jewish student. The a… https://t.co/8kZT81qFUK— Lesley M (@Lesley M)1562712260.0
Despite the outrage at Latson's actions, the School District of Palm Beach County merely removed Latson from his role as principal and has reassigned him to an unspecified position elsewhere in the school district.
People are calling for his full removal.
Spanish River School System @RiverPTSA - you need to remove William Latson @Latsonw from your schools. This idiot s… https://t.co/ToB7ChpEs1— Karyn Cleavely (@Karyn Cleavely)1562521252.0
@pbpost Should be fired.— Kevin Haig (@Kevin Haig)1562337411.0
@Florida_Today Fire the fool!— ChopChop (@ChopChop)1562605077.0
@AlPefley @CBS12 He should be fired, nor reassigned.— Susan Edwards (@Susan Edwards)1562673468.0
Latson has since apologized.
"I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust."
"It is critical that, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism."
Holocaust denial by anti-semites, racists, homophobes and bigots of all stripes is a real issue. The book DEBUNKING HOLOCAUST DENIAL THEORIES: Two Non-Jews Affirm the Historicity of the Nazi Genocide, available here, provides tools to respond to those who would deny the truth.
"Independent researchers and filmmakers James Morcan & Lance Morcan, with a foreword by Holocaust survivor Hetty E. Verolme, aim to end the denial once and for all by tackling the bizarre phenomenon head-on."