Florida principal fired after saying he couldn't confirm Holocaust as 'factual' event

A former Florida high school principal who expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the Holocaust has been fired. 

The Palm Beach County School Board on Tuesday voted 5-2 to end William Latson's employment at Spanish River Community High School, CNN reported, citing records from the board meeting. Latson had previously been reassigned after revelations about his views of the Holocaust surfaced. 


The district said that its decision to fire Latson was based on ethical misconduct and failure to carry out job responsibilities. Officials also expressed issues with Latson's failure to quickly respond to the board's inquiries. His termination is set to take effect on Nov. 21. 

"Latson failed to respond to communications from his supervisors and failed to assist the District in addressing the serious disruption caused by the aforementioned email and news coverage," a statement from the school district said, CNN reported. 

The Palm Beach County School Board did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from The Hill. Latson and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment from CNN.

Latson and the school district gained national attention earlier this year after it was revealed that the former principal expressed doubt about the Holocaust, a mass genocide that resulted in the deaths of millions of people, including 6 million Jews, in an exchange with a student's parent. 

In a response to a parent's email in April 2018 asking how the school taught the Holocaust, Latson responded, "I can't say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a district employee."

The exchange was first reported by The Palm Beach Post, which acquired the emails via 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.”

Officials attached a letter from Superintendent Donald E. Fennoy recommending Latson's dismissal to his firing notice. The letter said that Latson had until Nov. 20 to appeal the move.

Officials said in a news release in July that they had ordered Latson to spend "several days at the United States Holocaust Museum to increase his personal knowledge." They said Tuesday that he had visited the Washington, D.C., museum and been counseled about his decisions.

Latson in July apologized for his comments, saying the "verbiage" he used "did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust."