A high school principal in Florida who told a student's mother "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened" has been fired.
The Palm Beach County school board voted 5-2 to fire William Latson on ground of "ethical misconduct" and "failure to carry out job responsibilities." Latson was principal of Spanish River High School in Boca Raton.
The Palm Beach Post reports the official justification for Latson's termination was failure to return messages from school district officials in the days after his comments made international news.
Latson's attorney has vowed to appeal the decision in state administrative court.
“These are the facts. He is not anti-Semitic. He believes the Holocaust is factual,” Latson’s attorney, Thomas Elfers, told the board.
Latson did not react as the board voted without comment, according to a report by the Sun-Sentinel. He declined to comment after the meeting, but he did interact with staff members and parents from the Boca Raton school who were there to support him.
Several Spanish River teachers spoke on behalf of Latson Wednesday, describing him as a kind and tolerant administrator whose words were twisted in a national media frenzy.
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In 2018, Latson told a parent, who was seeking information about Spanish River’s Holocaust curriculum, that he had to remain “politically neutral,” meaning precarious with both advocates of Holocaust education and those who deny that the genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II happened.
"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,” Latson wrote to the parent, whose name is redacted from the emails released by the district.
Latson has been with the district for 26 years.
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