Principal who made controversial comments about Holocaust fired

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BRUCE BENNETT/PALM BEACH POST/TNS
William Latson was the principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton for 11 years.

BY CARLI TEPROFF
MIAMI HERALD/TNS

MIAMI – The South Florida principal who stirred national controversy after refusing to say the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event” was fired Wednesday during a school board meeting at the recommendation of the district’s superintendent.

With no discussion, the school board for the School District of Palm Beach County voted 5-2 to end William Latson’s more than 20-year-employment with the district.

Latson, who was the principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton for 11 years, was reassigned in July after emails he wrote to a mother’s inquiry in April 2018 surfaced. Superintendent Donald Fennoy originally said Latson’s contract should not be renewed, and he appointed Allison Castellano as the school’s new principal.

Among the comments made in the email: “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.” Latson also told the parent that because he worked for the public school district he could not take a position on whether the Holocaust was real, according to news reports.

PLANS TO APPEAL

Fennoy recommended Latson’s firing not because of the comments he made but because “while the email was receiving global news coverage, Mr. Latson failed to respond to communication from his supervisors and failed to assist the district in addressing the serious disruption caused by the aforementioned email and news coverage,” Fennoy explained in an executive summary given to the board.

Fennoy said Latson’s actions also violated the school board’s ethics code and the state’s code of conduct for principals.

Prior to Wednesday’s vote, several parents and teachers spoke in favor of keeping Latson as a principal.

“Dr. Latson rises to the top as the best principal I’ve had throughout my teaching career,” said a Spanish River teacher whom Latson hired last year.

Latson, who was sitting in the front row during the meeting, did not comment and walked out in tears, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Latson’s attorney told the Palm Beach Post that he will appeal the decision in state administrative court.

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