Spanish River High School principal defends himself in Holocaust controversy, blames parent

Spanish River High School principal defends himself in Holocaust controversy, blames parent

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The principal at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton is defending himself after he reportedly made controversial comments about the Holocaust.

William Latson was just reassigned to a district position after he told a parent in an email in 2018, "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 added that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened."

Details of the story were first published in The Palm Beach Post.

In an email to school staff members obtained by FOX 29, Latson wrote:

Latson went on to thank his colleagues at Spanish River High School by saying, "I am honored to have been a part of the team and some of the great things you have done."

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott tweeted that he spoke with Dr. Donald Fennoy, the Superintendent of the Palm Beach County School District, and told him Latson should've been fired, not reassigned.

“There is no excuse for what he expressed. There is no excuse for holocaust denial. There is no excuse for anti-Semitism of any kind,” Sen. Scott tweeted.

State Rep. Mike Caruso is also calling for Latson's termination.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Rep. Caruso wrote in part, “William Latson is unfit to educate our children and must be terminated immediately. He is either demonstrably incompetent or a Holocaust denier. Whichever he chooses to be, one thing is certain, neither of those options should be in a position to shape young minds.”

Since when does being a school principal prevent you from stating that the Holocaust was a factual, historical event? ...

Posted by Representative Mike Caruso on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Two other Florida lawmakers, State Rep. Randy Fine and State Sen. Lauren Book, said on social media they're working together to demand the firing of Latson.

On Monday, the Palm Beach County School District said Latson was reassigned "out of an abundance of concern and respect for the students and staff of Spanish River Community High School."

In a statement, a school district spokesperson said:

The school district said Latson was counseled about his comments and has been reassigned effective immediately.

Latson could not be reached for comment.

Anti-Semitism expert Laurie Cardoza-Moore says her organization, "Proclaiming Justice to the Nations," has been seeing the rise of anti-Semitism in schools for some time.

"Our children are being exposed to the same propaganda that the Holocaust really didn't take place or it wasn't as bad as the way historians say it is," said Cardoza-Moore.

Cardoza-Moore said she strongly agrees with the politicians who have called for Principal Latson's resignation or termination.

"He has no business being employed by any academic or education capacity. He knew exactly what he was saying if you look at the initial email as an educated educator using a lower case "h" to state the Holocaust is grammatically inaccurate and it minimizes what happened, the Nazi atrocities against the Jews," she said.

Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy initialy scheduled to hold a news conference to address the developments and concerns with Latson on Wednesday but have since canceled blaming a scheduling conflict.

The district says it will now release a video statement on Wednesday.

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