Florida principal who refused to acknowledge Holocaust to be fired

Palm Beach County superintendent recommends board not renew principal’s contract after he could not say that the Holocaust was a “historical event.”

By World Israel News Staff

Palm Beach County Superintendent Donald Fennoy said in videotaped message Wednesday that he is recommending that the school board not renew the contract of the principal of Spanish River High School, William Latson.

This development follows the news this week that Latson had been reassigned after writing an email in which he stated that he could not say that the Holocaust was a historical fact.

Fennoy said in his video that the email exchanges between a parent and the principal caused “real distress” and were “deeply concerning.”

In the email in question, Latson said that he needed to remain “politically neutral” about the Holocaust. He wrote, “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.”

The superintendent, seeking to be “absolutely clear,” said that schools cannot be “fact neutral environments.” He also said that teaching historical facts does not infringe on free speech.

Fennoy shared that he removed Latson as principal of Spanish River High since he “lost confidence” in his leadership over the incident and is requesting that Latson’s contract not be renewed next year.

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School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri said in a statement that he would support Fennoy’s recommendation.

The Palm Beach Post published an apology by Latson last week. However, on Monday, Latson gave a farewell message to the high school’s staff, blaming the mother for his reassignment.

“I have been reassigned to the district office due to a statement that was not accurately relayed to the newspaper by one of our parents,” Latson wrote in the message that was obtained by the Post. “It is unfortunate that someone can make a false statement and do so anonymously and it holds credibility but that is the world we live in.”

As part of the breaking story last week, the Post included images of the correspondences. The emails were obtained through a public records request and not from the mother.

Latson was reassigned to an office job in the Boca Raton school district after the story became public knowledge. However, the email exchanges started a year ago.