A mother pushed for a year to address what she described as a school leader’s failure to separate truth from myth.
She sent off the email with few expectations — a routine question seeking a routine answer. How, the mother wondered, was the Holocaust being taught at Spanish River High School?
She wanted to make sure, she wrote to the principal, that her child’s school was making Holocaust education “a priority.” The response she received five days later, in April 2018, was anything but routine.
In an email reply, Principal William Latson assured her that the school had “a variety of activities” for Holocaust education.
But he explained that the lessons are “not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.”
The mother, who asked not to be named to protect her child’s identity, was stunned. Was the principal of one of Palm Beach County’s largest public schools suggesting that the Holocaust was a belief rather than an actual event?
Thinking Latson simply had expressed himself poorly, she wrote back, asking him to clarify his comments. “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event,” she wrote. “It is not a right or a belief.”
She expected a chastened response. Instead, the veteran principal doubled down.
“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” he wrote, according to email records obtained by The Palm Beach Post through a public records request. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
He went on to say that as an educator he had “the role to be politically neutral but support all groups in the school.”
“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.
That response led the mother to launch a yearlong effort to address what she called a school leader’s failure to separate truth from myth regarding the genocide of an estimated 6 million Jews under Germany’s Nazi regime in the 1940s.
SOURCE: Andrew Marra
Palm Beach Post