Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Florida Principal: Holocaust Is Not A ‘Factual, Historical Event’

(JTA) — A high school principal in Boca Raton, Florida, told a parent that inquired about the school’s educational plan for teaching the Holocaust that “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

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.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.