Florida high school principal fired for saying “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” could be rehired.
A Florida high school principal who was fired last November for telling the mother of a student that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” could be rehired this week.
Palm Beach County School Board members will meet on Wednesday to consider a proposal to rehire the former principal of Spanish River High School William Latson, in the wake of an administrative judge’s ruling that he was improperly terminated.
Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy has recommended that Latson be reinstated and given $152,000 in back pay.
At its meeting last November, the board explained that Latson was being fired for having “violated” school-board policies and ethics codes, according to the meeting minutes.
In April 2018, Latson told the mother of a student who sought to ensure that Holocaust education was “a priority” that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” in an email.
“And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school, and not all of our parents have the same beliefs,” he continued.
Latson added that educators had “the role to be politically neutral, but support all groups in the school.”
“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,” he wrote.
The Palm Beach County School District said in a statement in July 2019 that Latson had “made a grave error in judgment in the verbiage he wrote in an email stating, ‘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.’ In addition to being offensive, the principal’s statement is not supported by either the School District Administration or the School Board.”
Latson personally apologized, saying: “I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent…did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
Latson’s appeal received a boost in August when the judge at his appeal ruled that his offense 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, the lowest rungs on the ladder of progressive discipline,” Administrative Law Judge Robert Cohen wrote.