High school principal: I can’t say Holocaust is factual, historical event

"Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened, and you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently."

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
July 7, 2019 14:53
2 minute read.
High school principal: I can’t say Holocaust is factual, historical event

Tower of Faces at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)

"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," wrote Florida high school principal William Latson in an email to the mother of a student, Yahoo! Lifestyle reported.

Latson also wrote that Holocaust education is "to be introduced but not forced upon individuals, as we all have the same right but not all the same beliefs."

The student's mother had asked Latson about how Holocaust education was prioritized. She responded to Latson's email, saying, "The Holocaust is a factual, historical event. It is not a right or a belief."

But the principal responded otherwise: "Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently, my thoughts or beliefs have nothing to do with this because I am a public servant. I have the role to be politically neutral but support all groups in the school."

The mother told the Palm Beach Post that she came out of the conversation "feeling so much worse.... How do you pick and choose history?"

The mother requested that students read Night by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel and for there to be Holocaust assemblies for all grade levels. The reading has been implemented, but not the assemblies.

"I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust," replied Latson to the Palm Beach Post on Friday. "It is critical that, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter antisemitism."

Deputy Schools Superintendent Keth Oswald stated that assemblies are planned for the 2019-2020 school year, but that Latson wasn't disciplined for his comments.

Latson traveled to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. for four days last summer for “a poignant lesson and reminder of one of the most horrific events in human history," said Oswald. "It was a hastily, poorly written email that he apologized for. That’s some of the challenge that we face when we email back and forth instead of picking up the phone.”

“The Holocaust is a historical fact, and I am appalled that anyone in our district believes that its teaching may be opted out of,” said Karen Brill, the only Jewish school board member, in response.


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