Florida school principal sparks outrage after telling parent Holocaust is a 'belief' that students don't have to learn
William Latson, head of the Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, prompted outrage after he told the parent that Holocaust education is only "to be introduced but not forced upon individuals, as we all have the same right but not all the same beliefs."
A high school principal faced major backlash after he reportedly told the mother of one of his students that the Holocaust is more of a "belief" that children did not necessarily have to learn about.
William Latson, head of the Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, prompted outrage after he told the parent that Holocaust education is only " to be introduced but not forced upon individuals, as we all have the same right but not all the same beliefs", Daily Mail reports.
According to a series of emails obtained by the Palm Beach Post, Latson explained his controversial position last year while responding to a question about the Second World War curriculum at his school.
In response to his email, the mother, who didn't want to be identified, told Latson the "Holocaust is a factual, historical event. It is not a right or a belief."
But the principal insisted: "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..."
Latson later went on to say he is not a Holocaust denier and tries to make sure he remains neutral on all matters of politics considering his position.
"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 in the email to the parent.
The principal's uninformed response inspired the mother to tackle the school leader's failure to understand the gravity of the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany that killed an estimated 6 million Jews under Adolf Hitler.
After the mother's almost year-long efforts, all 10th graders are now required to read 'Night', a classic Holocaust memoir written by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.
Earlier, students were only asked to read a few passages from the book, while in some classes the readings hadn't occurred at all.
Furthermore, Latson flew to Washington D.C. this summer and toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of a trip paid for by a nonprofit that spreads Holocaust awareness.
Following the trip, Latson said his time in the museum served as "a poignant lesson and reminder of one of the most horrific events in human history."