“We cannot allow anti-Semitism and discrimination to take hold in the school system,” the petition said.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Nearly 23,000 people have so far signed an online petition urging the school district of Palm Beach County, Florida, not to rehire William Latson, a high school principal who was fired last year after telling a parent, “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event.”
“This is a slap in the face to all Holocaust victims,” the petition said. “We cannot allow anti-Semitism and discrimination to take hold in the school system.”
The petition was started by Ben Szlamkowicz, a resident of Boca Raton and the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.
The school board approved the reinstatement of Latson on October 7 in a 4-3 vote.
The petition also stated that board members Chuck Shaw, Barbara McQuinn, Marcia Andrews, and Debra Robinson, who all voted for Latson’s reinstatement, should not win re-election.
Shaw has already announced that he is retiring this year at the end of his term.
Andrews and Robinson will be up for re-election in 2022, while the recently re-elected McQuinn will not face another election until 2024.
Board members Frank Barbieri, Karen Brill, and Erica Whitfield voted against Latson’s reinstatement.
“I remain outraged,” Brill said in a Facebook post on October 10. “It was a sad day beyond words for me as a School Board Member.”
The school board is scheduled to vote on a new position for Latson on October 21.
According to the board’s decision, the former high school principal is to be transferred to a position within the district commensurate with his qualifications.
The positions of “custodian” and “bus driver” have been suggested by residents on social media.
“Even if he is reinstated to a position, he will not be reinstated to that position,” Whitfield said at the October 7 meeting, adding, “I do not think he will be in a position where he will have access to our children.”
The school board voted 5-2 to fire Latson on October 30, 2019, but he appealed the decision.
Robert Cohen, an administrative law judge, recommended that the board rescind Latson’s termination on August 13.
Latson was principal at Spanish River High School in Boca Raton when he told a parent that students could opt out of Holocaust lessons because “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”
In an April 2018 email, Latson said, “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.”