Florida Principal in Holocaust Denial Scandal Fired Again by School Board Following Protests
The Florida high school principal at the center of a Holocaust denial scandal was fired for a second time on Monday, less than a month after a school board vote to rehire him.
William Latson — the former principal of Spanish River High School in Palm Beach County — was terminated following a reversal of a 4-3 vote on Oct. 7 to reinstate him. All four board members who voted in favor of Latson voted against him this time.
One attendee at the meeting told The Algemeiner that the school board had admitted to receiving more calls and emails on the Latson issue than on any other in its history.
“Survivors were standing there in tears,” the attendee said. “It was incredible.”
Palm Beach School Board member Marcia Andrews pledged in a statement addressed to those who protested the decision to rehire Latson, “I’m going to rescind my vote. I’m going to fix this today.”
Latson was initially fired last November after sending an email to a parent who inquired about Holocaust education programs that stated, “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”
In the same email, Latson told the parent that when it came to the Nazi murder of six million Jews and millions of other minorities, “You have your thoughts, but we are a public school, and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
He concluded, “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.”
Speaking to The Algemeiner last week, one Jewish student at the school said that the prospect of Latson’s return was “very scary.”
“One of the things I’m concerned about is how school programs studying the Holocaust might be affected by his being reinstated,” the 10th-grader said. “Another concern I have is how students are going to perceive him, because some people will say, ‘well, he got away with it, so why can’t I?’”
Another school board member, Barbara McQuinn, explained that worries about Holocaust denial had led her to change her vote.
“What Dr. Latson did was open the door for the students whose parents are Holocaust deniers for generations to come to deny the atrocity of the Holocaust,” McQuinn said on Monday.