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Florida principal reassigned following controversial statements about Holocaust

Some in community felt he should have been fired
Posted at 6:01 AM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 09:01:23-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton has been reassigned following controversial comments he made about the Holocaust.

in 2018, Principal William Latson told a parent that he didn't consider the Holocaust a "factual, historical event."

"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 wrote. He later added that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened."

"He should have been fired, 100 percent, and that's offensive to people that have relatives in the Holocaust and to myself for being a Jewish man," said Jacob Shook, who graduated from Spanish River in 2017. "He's teaching education and our children and he doesn't even have his facts straight."

After details of the email were first published in The Palm Beach Post, Latson 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," Latson said.

On Monday, the Palm Beach County School District said Latson is being reassigned to a district position "out of an abundance of concern and respect for the students and staff of Spanish River Community High School."

"Mr. Latson made a grave error in judgment in the verbiage he wrote... In addition to being offensive, the principal's statement is not supported by either the School District Administration or the School Board," a school district spokesperson said, in part.

The story has gained national attention and sparked a firestorm in the Boca Raton community, which is predominantly Jewish.

"It shouldn't be a thing where he should be debating the Holocaust did happen. It's clearly a fact," Spanish River graduate Michael Zeidel said. He was the Vice President of the Jewish Student Union when he attend the school. "Regardless of political stance, religion, age, gender or whatever, this isn't a debatable kind of thing."

The school district said Latson was counseled about his comments in the email and has been reassigned effective immediately.

Latson could not be reached for comment Monday.

Read Latson's 2018 comments about the Holocaust in an exchange with a parent below.

Email Request 71819 by on Scribd

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This story was originally published by Ryan Hughes on WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.