Florida Principal Fired Over Holocaust Comments Rehired by School Board
William Latson — the Florida high school principal fired in November 2019 for telling a parent that the truth of the Holocaust was a matter of opinion — has gotten his job back.
On Wednesday, the Palm Beach County School Board voted 4-3 in favor of rehiring Latson, who was the principal of Spanish River High School when he was removed from his post.
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.
Last week, Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy recommended that Latson be reinstated and given $152,000 in back pay.
The controversy involving Latson dates back to April 2018, when he 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 scolded.
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 later 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.”