Florida principal to parent: ‘Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened’
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Florida principal to parent: ‘Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened’

In email, William Latson says Holocaust studies optional since ‘we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs’

Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus await selection on the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, May 1944. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yad Vashem)
Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus await selection on the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, May 1944. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yad Vashem)

JTA — A US high school principal in Boca Raton, Florida has told a parent who inquired about the school’s educational plan for teaching the Holocaust that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

Spanish River Community High School principal William Latson in an email in April 2018 first told 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.”

The exchange of emails was first reported Friday by the Palm Beach Post, which obtained the emails through a public records request.

When the parent, who is not named in the report to protect the identity of her child, asked the principal to clarify his remarks, telling him that the Holocaust is a “factual, historical event,” he doubled down, saying: “You have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.” He said that as a school district employee he cannot take a position on the Holocaust.

With about 2,500 students, the school is said to have one of the county’s largest Jewish student populations in the United States, according to the report.

In a statement to The Post, Latson, who has been principal since 2011, apologized, saying his email “did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”

The school’s educational offerings on the Holocaust exceed the state’s requirements, according to Latson, though not all of the offerings actually take place in the classroom. The parent proposed a change, adopted this school year, which has every 10th grader read “Night” by famed Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

Latson was not disciplined for his emails.

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