Principal William Latson of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton first said that to a parent last year, but the situation blew up over the weekend after the Palm Beach Post reported on it. A parent gave Latson the benefit of the doubt — perhaps his words came out wrong — but he insisted that he needed to be neutral about the Holocaust.
There have been changes to the school’s curriculum, and Latson is finally saying all the things he should’ve said a year ago, but the bad publicity and an online petition have led to his removal.
“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” he wrote, according to email records obtained by The Palm Beach Post through a public records request. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
He went on to say that as an educator he had “the role to be politically neutral but support all groups in the school.”
“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 wrote.
… on Monday, the Palm Beach County school district announced that he would be stripped of his position as principal and reassigned to another job in the district.
… school officials had decided that Mr. Latson had become a “major distraction.” “It is, therefore, in the best interest of students and the larger school community to reassign Mr. Latson to a District position,” the district said.
A district representative declined to specify the position to which Mr. Latson would be reassigned.
It’s the right move. Latson was far too ignorant in his effort to be politically correct, and he deserved criticism for it. He certainly shouldn’t be in charge of students’ education — in a predominantly Jewish town, no less! — if he doesn’t know enough to take a firm stance on the Holocaust. It’s not up for debate. We wouldn’t hesitate to criticize teachers or administrators who acted like evolution, climate change, or slavery deserved neutrality, and the sentiment applies here as well.