Back in 2018, William Latson made the national news after a parent complained about an email she had received from the educator. The parent had emailed Latson — who was the principal at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton at the time — to ask about how the district handles teaching the Holocaust in its curriculum.
Latson’s response was brought to the attention of his superiors in the school district.
“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… Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened. And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs,” said Latson.
In response, the school district reiterated that “the District’s curriculum is based on historical fact.”
As CNN previously reported, the school district reassigned Latson months later. In a message to the Spanish River staff, Latson said it was “unfortunate” that someone could make a “false statement” and that it could have credibility.
In a statement to a local newspaper, Latson later stated that he regretted his choice of words. He went on to clarify that he never intended to prevent the school district from teaching “about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
In a 5-2 decision, the PBC School Board voted to terminate former Spanish River High School principal William Latson. Latson was reassigned after his controversial comments about the Holocaust surfaced in July, but the district didn't officially cut ties until today. More at 11 pic.twitter.com/9Rs0tAC1XE
— Lexi Nahl (@LexiNahlTV) October 31, 2019
At Wednesday’s school board meeting, the board voted 5-2 to terminate Watson’s employment, effective November 21.
Why it took Latson’s superiors over a year and a half to fire him is not clear. Efrem Goldberg, a local rabbi, called it “outrageous” that Latson was able to receive a salary for 16 months after he’d made the remarks.
“He should have been terminated immediately. The fact that he has had a paid vacation on the tax payers is outrageous,” Goldberg tweeted.
Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism
Denying that the Holocaust is real — or advocating the belief that its atrocities were exaggerated — is a form of antisemitism, according to The Southern Poverty Law Center. Under the guise of “historical research,” groups promoting these ideas seek to legitimize the Nazi regime. In an attempt to reach a broader audience, these groups will use terms such as “national socialism” to appeal to more people. At the same time, they minimize the sufferings of the millions of Jewish people who were victimized by the catastrophic events.