Spanish River Community High School principal William Latson wrote in an April 2018 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 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, adopted this school year, which has every 10th grader read “Night” by Elie Wiesel.
Latson was not disciplined for his emails.