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A high school principal who was previously reassigned after telling a parent he couldn’t say the Holocaust was “factual” has now been fired, CNN reports.
William Latson, a principal at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Fla., made the comments while emailing a parent who had asked him how his administration taught children about the Holocaust.
“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 responded. “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”
Latson, who had served as principal since 2011, sent the controversial email in 2018; however, it didn’t surface until this past summer. The principal reportedly left for a vacation to Jamaica on the same day the story broke nationally.
That vacation later played a role in the Palm Beach County School Board’s majority decision to fire Latson. The 5-2 vote, which resulted in Latson’s termination effective Nov. 21, claimed the principal was slow to respond as the allegations against him gained attention.
“While his email was receiving global news coverage, Mr. Latson failed to respond to communications from his supervisors and failed to assist the District in addressing the serious disruption caused by the aforementioned email and news coverage,” a statement from the school district said.
Latson has since claimed his comments were “not accurately relayed,” according to an email to school staff email obtained by CNN. He has until November 20 to appeal his decision if he chooses to.
After the emails came to light in July, Latson was reassigned from his role as principal to a new, “district position.” That decision came just days after the Palm Beach Post obtained and published large portions of the controversial conversation.
Those emails showed Latson allegedly expanding on his comments, telling the parent that teachings about the Holocaust are “not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.”
“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” Latson wrote, according to the emails. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
The school district used its decision to reaffirm that the Holocaust did in fact happen, adding that it had previously asked Latson to expand his school’s curriculum surrounding the subject. The district also said Latson had recently visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. to learn more about its history.
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