State Senator Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton) and Representative Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton) today issued the following joint statement calling for the termination of former Spanish River High School Principal William Latson over his comments related to Holocaust denial:
We have been closely monitoring the situation with the principal of Spanish River High School, William Latson, EdD, since the news broke on Friday. Principal Latson sent two highly inappropriate emails to a concerned parent in April 2018 in response to an inquiry concerning Holocaust education. Dr. Latson is quoted stating, “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”; and “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”. These quotes are repulsive, hurtful and any kind of Holocaust denial will never be tolerated.
Yesterday, we met with officials from the School District of Palm Beach County, including Superintendent Donald Fennoy, in order to learn what the school district has done in these intervening months in response to these unacceptable actions by the principal. Despite speculation that the district swept this problem under the rug or engaged in a cover-up, or even that these horrible statements were coming from leadership, we can assure the public that this is not the case. The school district had been working with Principal Latson and concerned parents to address his comments, engaged leaders in the Jewish community, increased Holocaust education for the school and individually for the Principal.
But yesterday we also learned that Dr. Latson sent an email to his former faculty and staff at Spanish River High School wherein he stated: “I have been reassigned to the district office due to a statement that was not accurately relayed to the newspaper by one of our parents. It is unfortunate that someone can make a false statement and do so anonymously and it hold credibility but that is the world we live in.”
By his latest email, Dr. Latson has shown no remorse for his actions and we call on the district to immediately terminate him.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1994 law, sponsored by former Congressman Ron Klein, mandating Holocaust education in Florida’s 67 districts. Palm Beach Public Schools has been committed to educating students about the atrocities of the Holocaust and even has a full-time Program Planner for Holocaust Studies.
Moving forward we are committed to working with our colleagues and the Florida Department of Education to ensure that every school district is in compliance with the Holocaust education mandate.