A Florida principal who wrote in an email to a parent that he could not confirm that the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event” was fired for a second time after being reinstated following an appeal.
The Palm Beach County School Board voted Monday to terminate William Latson at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton again, reversing an earlier decision to reinstate the former principal.
Latson was initially reassigned July 2019 after it was revealed he told a parent in a 2018 email that he couldn’t acknowledge that the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event.” In his emails he also said he couldn’t “force” Holocaust lessons on children because some parents didn’t believe it happened.
The school board voted in October 2019 to fire Latson, not specifically in response to the email exchange, but because he “failed to respond to communication form his supervisors and failed to assist the district in addressing the serious disruption caused by the aforementioned email and news coverage,” the Miami Herald reported.
An administrative law judge ruled in August of this year that while Latson did commit “several acts of poor judgment,” his conduct did not warrant suspension or termination.
Earlier in October, school board members voted to reinstate him, but ultimately walked back on the decision on Monday after outrage from the Jewish community, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Efforts to reach Latson for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful, but in a YouTube video uploaded last week, the former principal apologized for his Holocaust remarks.
“When I wrote to a parent in 2018 that as an employee of Palm Beach County Public Schools I could not state that the Holocaust was a historical fact, I was wrong,” he said in the video. “I apologize to the Palm Beach County community, the School Board, the school administration, the parents, students, teachers of Palm Beach County, the Jewish community and everyone offended or hurt by my mistake.”
“I am not a Holocaust denier,” he said. “I have never been a Holocaust denier.”
A spokesperson for the school board said in an email Tuesday that board members are expected to vote on a formal rejection of the judge’s recommendation to rehire Latson on Nov. 10.