A principal at a Boca Raton, Florida, high school who came under fire over the weekend for denying that the Holocaust was a “factual, historical event” in an email to a parent has been removed from his post, the district announced on Monday.
William Latson, the principal at Spanish River Community High School, was reassigned to a position with the district after the email exchange from April 2018 made national news.
“It is out of an abundance of concern and respect for the students and staff of Spanish River Community High School that school district administration has decided to reassign Principal William Latson effective immediately,” the school district of Palm Beach County wrote in a statement, according to The Palm Beach Post.
Latson apologized in a statement to the Post, claiming that he regretted “the verbiage” that he used in the email and that it “did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
The district reportedly noted in its statement that Latson’s “leadership has become a major distraction for the school community.”
“In addition to being offensive,” the district said, “the principal’s statement is not supported by either the school district administration or the school board.”
The Post first published the controversial email exchange on Friday.
In a missive to Latson, a mother reportedly wondered how the Holocaust was being taught at the school and wanted to make sure it was a priority.
Latson responded by pointing out that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” and that he “can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event” because he is “a school district employee.”
He continued: “You have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
Several politicos called out Latson publicly after the emails surfaced, including Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who tweeted on Sunday that the “fact that someone charged with educating children would be unable to speak unequivocally on the realities & horrors of the Holocaust is incredibly concerning.”
“Our children and communities deserve better,” he added. “There’s no excuse for anti-Semitism in any form.”
An online petition demanding Latson’s resignation had about 7,500 signatures at press time on Monday afternoon.