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Florida House Rep. Condemns Palm Beach School Board’s Decision To Rehire Principal After Holocaust Remarks

Boca Raton Principal William Latson was fired by the Palm Beach County school district last year after telling a parent in an email he had to be "politically neutral "about Holocaust curriculum.
Gina Fontana via South Florida Sun Sentinel
Boca Raton Principal William Latson was fired by the Palm Beach County school district last year after telling a parent in an email he had to be "politically neutral "about Holocaust curriculum.

The Palm Beach County school board is revisiting a decision, during the board's Wednesday meeting, to rehire a former Boca Raton principal who made controversial remarks about the Holocaust.

The school board recently decided to rehire William Latson. In 2018, Latson sent an email to a parent, saying that as a district employee, he couldn’t say the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event.”

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A year later, the email became public, sparking national outrage.

Emily Slosberg is a Florida House representative for the Boca Raton area and co-chairs the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus. Slosberg said she has marched with Holocaust survivors, and their family members in the past, and calls the decision to rehire Latson “unconscionable.”

“Twelve million people were killed. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust,” Slosberg said. “This is something that cannot be repeated. It's in my district at this school. And I've heard from parents. I've heard from students. And they are outraged.”

A Florida administrative judge ruled that Latson should have been reprimanded or reassigned to another position instead of being fired. Slosberg still believes the school district should not have voted to rehire Latson.

In 1994, Florida's Legislature passed the Holocaust Education Bill which mandates that the Holocaust be taught as part of the curriculum in Florida schools. Slosberg says in response to Latson's Holocaust remarks, the legislature strengthened curriculum requirements.

Slosberg sees the controversy as an opportunity to “ensure that the Holocaust is taught in our schools.”

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
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