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Florida school board to reconsider rehiring principal who made Holocaust remarks

By Wells Dusenbury, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After voting to rehire the Boca Raton principal whose controversial comments about the Holocaust generated national headlines, the Palm Beach County School Board might walk back that decision.

Last week, the school board voted 4-3 to rehire former Spanish River Principal William Latson after an administrative law judge ruled in August the school district failed to prove he "engaged in misconduct in office, incompetence, or gross insubordination by a preponderance of the evidence."

But reinstating him may no longer go according to plan. Following local outrage from the decision, the school board now will vote whether to rescind Latson's rehiring during its meeting on Wednesday.

The controversy dates to 2018 when, in email conversations with a parent, Latson detailed his efforts to implement the school's Holocaust curriculum, a state mandate since 1994. He wrote that not every family had been amenable to the lessons.

In 2018, Latson told a parent in an email, "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." Superintendent Donald Fennoy didn't discipline him until it hit the media a year later.

 

Latson also said that as a school district employee, he couldn't confirm the Holocaust existed.

"I work to expose students to certain things, but not all parents want their students exposed so they will not be and I can't force that issue," Latson wrote.

The School Board fired Latson, who had led Spanish River since 2011, last year for being unavailable after the comments he made infuriated Spanish River parents and alumni, as well as Holocaust survivors and people working to combat anti-Semitism.

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