A Florida high school principal who was fired in November 2019 for suggesting that there was doubt over the historical truth of the Holocaust has been reinstated.
William Latson, the Principal of Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, allegedly told the parent of a student in an April 2018 e-mail that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.” His comment came in response to the parent’s request to ensure that Holocaust education was treated as “a priority”.
In the same e-mail, the principal said that “we are a public school” and educators had “to be politically neutral” adding: “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.”
On Wednesday, the seven-member Palm Beach County School Board voted 4-3 in favour of rehiring Dr Latson.
The Palm Beach County School District said in a statement in July 2019 that Dr Latson had “made a grave error in judgment in stating, ‘I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event.’ In addition to being offensive, the principal’s statement is not supported by either the School District Administration or the School Board.”
Dr Latson later apologised, saying: “I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an e-mail message from a parent…did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
In August, Administrative Law Judge Robert Cohen, the judge in Dr Latson’s appeal, ruled that the offence was “not serious enough to warrant termination.”
“These acts of poor judgment on Dr. Latson’s part should result in a verbal or written reprimand,” wrote Judge Cohen. Last week, Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy recommended that Dr Latson be reinstated and given $152,000 (£117,000) in back pay.
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