School board will reconsider vote to rehire ex-principal after Holocaust remarks

School board will reconsider vote to rehire ex-principal after Holocaust remarks

Palm Beach County School Board members will reconsider their decision to reinstate a former Boca Raton high school principal who was fired in the wake of controversial comments he made about the Holocaust.

School board members voted 4-3 earlier this month to reinstate William Latson, who was the former principal at Spanish River Community High School.

But school board Chairman Frank Barbieri has proposed rescinding the vote.

The agenda item will be discussed during next Wednesday's school board meeting.

Also on Friday, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran requested the immediate cancellation of Latson's professional educator certificate.

Latson was removed as principal in July 2019 after it was revealed in an email to a parent in 2018 that he couldn't say the Holocaust was a fact.

"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 told a parent in an email. "Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened."

During a school district investigation, documents showed that Latson took a vacation to Jamaica the day that local and national news agencies started reporting on the story.

Latson did not respond to calls and text messages from the school district's deputy superintendent of schools during the investigation.

Because of that, in part, school board members voted to fire Latson for violating the School District of Palm Beach County's Code of Ethics and performing misconduct while in office.

However, Administrative Law Judge Robert Cohen later ruled that while "Latson did commit several acts of poor judgment," his conduct "did not rise to the level of just cause for suspension or termination because the conduct was not so severe as to support that level of discipline."

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