Spanish River High with former principal William Latson
Spanish River High and former principal William Latson
Photo: Twitter
Spanish River High and former principal William Latson

Florida may reinstate principal laid off in Holocaust denial row

School board debates whether to rehire William Latson, fired for 'ethical misconduct' over 2018 email exchange with parent in which he said, 'not everyone believes the Holocaust happened'

Ynet, Associated Press |
Published: 10.06.20 , 14:05
A high school principal in Florida who was fired last year after telling a student's mother that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened" might be rehired this week.
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  • Local school superintendent Donald Fennoy has recommended that the Palm Beach County school board rehire former Spanish River High School principal William Latson and give him $152,000 in back pay, news outlets reported.
    Spanish River High with former principal William LatsonSpanish River High with former principal William Latson
    Spanish River High and former principal William Latson
    (Photo: Twitter)
    The board was set to meet Wednesday. The recommendation follows a Florida administrative judge's August ruling that Latson should not have been sacked.
    The school board voted 5-2 last October to fire Latson on grounds of "ethical misconduct" and "failure to carry out job responsibilities."
    The official justification for his termination was failure to return messages from school district officials in the days after his comments made international news.
    The Auschwitz death campThe Auschwitz death camp
    The infamous gates of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, with the phrase 'work sets you free' written across the top in German
    (Photo: AP)
    Judge Robert Cohen ruled in August that Latson should have been reprimanded or reassigned to another position within the school system rather than fired, JTA reported at the time.
    According to Cohen, Latson “made some unfortunate choices in expressing his thoughts,” but did none of his actions rose to the level of “gross insubordination” that would have led to his dismissal.
    Latson had initially been reassigned from the Boca Raton school to a district office job because of the outcry over his email to a mother who inquired whether the school's students study the Holocaust, in which 6 millions Jews were massacred by the Nazi regime and its allies across Europe.
    יד ושםיד ושם
    The Hall of Names in Yad Vashem, which records the name of every Jew who perished in the Holocaust
    (Photo: AFP)
    Latson, who had been at Spanish River for eight years, replied to the mother that as an educator his job was to be "politically neutral."
    "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 mother, assuming that Latson had expressed himself poorly, wrote back, saying, "The Holocaust is a factual, historical event. It is not a right or belief."
    ילד יהודי נכנע בפני הנאצים בגטו ורשהילד יהודי נכנע בפני הנאצים בגטו ורשה
    A Jewish child raises his hands in front of Nazi troops in the Warsaw Ghetto
    (Photo: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
    Latson replied, "Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened."
    He added: "You have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs."
    According to the Palm Beach Post, the school has one of the largest Jewish student populations in the county.
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