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Former Spanish River High School parent offers support for principal following Holocaust controversy

Posted at 11:10 PM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 07:07:41-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Ava Clarke and her decision to come forward to show support for ousted Spanish River High School Principal William Latson wasn’t done lightly. She doesn’t condone what Latson emailed to a parent concerning the Holocaust, but she wants another side of him to be heard.

“I get it, it hurts and when it hurts that bad, you shouldn’t go near it and touch that in any way. But again, that was a wrong that was made, and there is maybe 20 miles of good and that’s what I would like to also see come out in this story,” Clarke said in an interview.

Latson in 2018 emails with a parent who asked how the school teaches the Holocaust responded writing, "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 added that "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened."

“I don’t agree with his opinion,” Clarke said of Latson.

Clarke sought out the school’s in Boca for her daughter. For the elementary school it was Calusa and for high school, it was Spanish River. William Latson was in charge of both.

“He was a good role model and I liked that. And so, I was very happy that he was going to be her principal,” Clarke said.

Clarke was an active parent for her daughter who graduated high school in 2013. She was involved in PTA, Color Guard, and band. So, she had some interaction with Latson.

“Anytime that I have dealt with him, I always felt he always treated everybody equally. He didn’t care what you were, who you were, what color you were, how much money you have. He really tried to be very equal and balanced,” she said.

Wednesday, Superintendent Dr. Donold Fennoy announced he was going to recommend to the school board to not renew Latson’s contract because he had lost faith Latson’s leadership.

Clarke supports whatever decision they make.

“I know that many of the students that have had him in the past are really upset, really, really upset that this is happening. They also understand that what was said and the mistake that he made," Clarke said.

“Everyone has the right to their own opinion,” said Benjamin Szlamkowicz, who started the Change.Org petition to be fired, about people showing support for Latson.

He hopes one of the things that come out of this is the passage of a law that would provide grants for Holocaust education.

“I hope that our federal government passes the 'Never Again Education Act of 2019.' I urge people to contact their senators and congressmen and women and put it up for law," he said in an interview.

The school board will vote on July 24 to decide if they will renew Latson's contract.