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Florida school board to investigate — not dismiss — principal who made Holocaust comments

Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former Spanish River High School Principal William Latson's day of reckoning, anxiously awaited by Boca Raton residents and observers across the country who have called for his firing, has been delayed.

The Palm Beach County School District has decided to investigate him further instead of potentially dismissing him in a vote that had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Latson, who had led Spanish River since 2011, was removed from his post on July 8 after he told a parent in an email that he couldn't say whether the Holocaust was a factual event. His comments created a national outcry about Holocaust denial and insufficient education about the world's genocides.

The school district needs to complete its own detailed investigation affording Latson his "due process rights" before potentially removing him from employment, according to a statement from the school district.

The state Department of Education is also conducting an inquiry into the incident. That investigation has to be concluded before the district decides on a potential termination, school board member Karen Brill said.

Brill said she hopes the inquiries are concluded within the next two weeks.

 

"The comments were so shocking and egregious," she said. "It was an embarrassment to the school district. We need to get some closure on this."

The school board had planned to vote Wednesday on whether to accept a recommendation from Superintendent Donald Fennoy not to renew Latson's contract.

"However, Mr. Latson's subsequent actions require the District to investigate," the district said in a statement Monday night. "As is the protocol of the School District's termination process, Mr. Latson will be afforded all of his due process rights. The date of the School Board meeting to consider the Superintendent's recommendation for termination has not yet been determined, but will be as soon as possible."

The district's statement added it would not answer any questions about the investigation.

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