In April of 2018, a parent e-mailed William Latson, Principal of Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Florida, to ask him how the Holocaust would be taught at the school. His response was nothing short of shocking. Now, it appears he’s gotten an even cushier job.
He wrote that the school had “a variety of ways” of teaching students about the Holocaust. He went on to tell the parent that “The curriculum is to be introduced but not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.”
Stunned, the parent responded asking him to clarify his remarks, seeing as the Holocaust is a factual, historical event. That isn’t up for debate. “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” Latson replied. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
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. I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly.
When Latson’s comments became known to the school district, he was initially given counseling and told to expand his school’s holocaust curriculum, according to CBS News. He also visited the Holocaust Museum.
Latson later said in a statement:
I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent one year ago did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust. It is critical that, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism.
However, the public was not satisfied. On Monday, the school district announced that Latson would be removed from the school, as “his leadership has become a major distraction for the school community.”
In a statement, the district said:
It is out of an abundance of concern and respect for the students and staff of Spanish River Community High School that School District Administration has decided to reassign Principal William Latson effective immediately.
The bizarre thing? The Miami Herald reports that his reassignment is at the district level. Doesn’t that seem like a promotion? Taking him out of the school and putting him at the district level? Why would they move him out of the school and put him at the district level, where decisions are made?
We don’t know what the specific job is, so maybe not, but it seems pretty strange to me.