Florida principal: I can't take a position on the Holocaust

High school principal in Boca Raton tells parents that
'not everyone believes the Holocaust happened, I can't take a position on it.'

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Holocaust survivor
Holocaust survivor
Flash 90

A high school principal in Boca Raton, Florida told a parent that inquired about the school’s educational plan for teaching the Holocaust that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

Spanish River Community High School principal William Latson first told the parent by email that “the curriculum is to be introduced but not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs."

The exchange of emails was first reported by the Palm Beach Post, which obtained the emails through a public records request.

When the parent, who is not named in the report in order to protect the identity of her child, asked the principal to clarify his remarks, telling him that the Holocaust is a “factual, historical event,” he doubled down saying: “you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.” He said that as a school district employee he cannot take a position on the Holocaust.

The school with about 2,500 students is said to have one of the county’s largest Jewish student populations in the county, according to the report.

In a statement to The Post, Latson, who has been principal since 2011, apologized, saying his email “did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”

The school’s educational offerings on the Holocaust exceed the state’s requirements, according to Latson, though not all of the offerings actually take place in the classroom. The parent proposed a change - that every 10th grader read Night by Elie Wiesel - and it was adopted this year.

Latson was not disciplined for his emails.