Uh What?! Florida High School Principal Said 'I Can’t Say The Holocaust Is A Factual, Historical Event'

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Posted: Jul 07, 2019 5:35 AM
Uh What?! Florida High School Principal Said 'I Can’t Say The Holocaust Is A Factual, Historical Event'

Source: Public Prosecutor's office in Hamburg via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum via AP

There are some things that are just not up for debate. These aren’t political issues. What happened in Florida didn’t center on MAGA hats, flag burning, or the merits of tax cuts. We actually had a high school principal question whether the Holocaust was a “historical, factual” event. The Palm Beach Post has the story. A mother of a student tried for a year to reason with the school administration to, you know, actually teach kids about this terrible period in human history without the nonsense. She wondered how this was being taught at the school. The emails between the parent and Spanish River High School Principal William Latson were released and, well, it was not very good. Latson has since apologized for the wording in these emails, with the school district’s deputy schools superintendent saying that he was “counseled” on the exchanges, but not formally reprimanded. Now, Latson is not a Holocaust denier, but this nonsensical two sides position he took about this issue is a bit disturbing. There is no ‘two sides argument’ concerning the Holocaust (via Palm Beach Post):

A mother pushed for a year to address what she described as a school leader’s failure to separate truth from myth.

She sent off the email with few expectations — a routine question seeking a routine answer. How, the mother wondered, was the Holocaust being taught at Spanish River High School?

She wanted to make sure, she wrote to the principal, that her child’s school was making Holocaust education “a priority.” The response she received five days later, in April 2018, was anything but routine.

In an email reply, Principal William Latson assured her that the school had “a variety of activities” for Holocaust education.

But he explained that the lessons are “not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.”

The mother, who asked not to be named to protect her child’s identity, was stunned. Was the principal of one of Palm Beach County’s largest public schools suggesting that the Holocaust was a belief rather than an actual event?

Thinking Latson simply had expressed himself poorly, she wrote back, asking him to clarify his comments. “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event,” she wrote. “It is not a right or a belief.”

She expected a chastened response. Instead, the veteran principal doubled down.

“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.

[…]

She didn’t doubt that Latson knew the Holocaust was real, she said in an interview, but she feared his reluctance to say so stemmed from a desire to avoid confronting parents who deny the Holocaust’s reality.

The publication adds that the other pushed for the mandatory reading of Elie Wiesel’s Night “ for sophomores, along with assemblies on the Holocaust. The first suggestion was honored, but the assemblies were not held due to “time constraints.”

Maybe this is an unforced error. No, it was. Who cares about catering to the “holocaust denier” crowd? The point of an educator is that you don’t even dabble or give the myth-peddling crowd any platform or the light of day for that matter, especially on issues like the Holocaust. This is a ‘Florida man’ story for sure, those humorous stories about the insane antics from those who hail from the Sunshine State, but this one takes a very dark turn indeed.