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Superintendent responds to Holocaust controversy involving former Spanish River High School principal

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 21:47:34-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The superintendent of the Palm Beach County School District is recommending the school board not renew the contract of the former principal at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton in the wake of a Holocaust controversy.

William Latson was reassigned this week to a district position after he told a parent in an email in 2018, "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."

"Our children need to be taught the facts of our history, period," said Dr. Donald Fennoy in a video release on Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. Fennoy said he's lost confidence in Latson's leadership, and recommended the school board not renew his contract.

"It is our job as educators to make sure that our students learn the facts and know our history," said Dr. Fennoy. "While he's apologized for what he's said, it is not tenable for him to lead the school."

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Details of the story were first published by WPTV's news partners at The Palm Beach Post.

In an email to school staff members obtained by WPTV, Latson wrote:

"I have been reassigned to the district office due to a statement that was not accurately relayed to the newspaper by one of our parents. It is unfortunate that someone can make a false statement and do so anonymously and it holds credibility but that is the world we live in."

The school district reassigned Latson effective immediately "out of an abundance of concern and respect for the students and staff of Spanish River Community High School."

In a statement, a school district spokesperson said:

"Mr. Latson made a grave error in judgment in the verbiage he wrote... In addition to being offensive, the principal's statement is not supported by either the School District Administration or the School Board."

Several Florida lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, are now calling for Latson to be fired.

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