School Principal to Mom: The Holocaust Is a 'Belief'

And she pressed the issue
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2019 9:40 AM CDT
School Principal Calls the Holocaust a 'Personal Belief'
Stock image.   (Getty Imges)

"Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened." So said a Florida high school principal when pressed about the school's curriculum, and one mother wasn't having it. Friction began when the school mom, who chose to remain unidentified, emailed Principal William Latson of Spanish River High School in April 2018 to ask about Holocaust education in the curriculum, Yahoo reports. Latson explained that Holocaust education is covered in courses, one of which is optional, and in an optional annual assembly. Some parents at the Boca Raton school "don't want their children to participate and we have to allow them the ability to decline," he emailed, adding that it's "not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs."

She responded that the Holocaust—which saw roughly six million Jews murdered in the 1940s by Germany's Nazi regime—was a "historical event. It is not a right or a belief." But Latson doubled down, saying "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened" and he had to stay "politically neutral" among "groups in the school." So the mother met with him and Palm Beach County school district administrators, ultimately getting a commitment that Elie Wiesel's Holocaust memoir Night would be required reading for 10th graders. Latson went undisciplined but later apologized to the Palm Beach Post, saying he would educate "all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust. It is critical that, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism." (More Holocaust stories.)

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