Florida high school reassigns principal who wouldn't call Holocaust a 'factual, historical event'

A Florida high school principal who declined to call the Holocaust a “factual, historical event” when asked to do so by a parent has been removed from his post.

Officials with the School District of Palm Beach County said William Latson, the principal of Spanish River Community High School, has been reassigned and will no longer serve as principal.


"Mr. Latson made a grave error in judgment in the verbiage he wrote in an email stating, '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 district said in a statement Monday. "In addition to being offensive, the principal's statement is not supported by either the School District Administration or the School Board."

Latson’s exchange with the parent from April 2018 was first reported by The Palm Beach Post, which obtained the emails through a public records request.

“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” Latson wrote in one of the emails. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”

In a statement to the news outlet Monday, Latson apologized for his comments, but the school district decided Monday evening it had to take further action.

Officials said in the news release that they had previously instructed Latson to expand the school’s curriculum for teaching the Holocaust and its surrounding events and even ordered him to spend "several days at the United States Holocaust Museum to increase his personal knowledge."

"Despite these efforts, his leadership has become a major distraction for the school community," the statement read. "It is, therefore, in the best interest of students and the larger school community to reassign Mr. Latson to a District position."

The school and surrounding community have a large Jewish population, leading many angry parents and residents to call for Latson’s departure.

An online petition calling for his removal had more than 6,000 signatures as of Monday before the school announced Latson would be reassigned.