William Latson Will Not Be Rehired By The Palm Beach County School District. For Now.
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Palm Beach County School Board Monday voted unanimously to rescind its previous decision to rehire William Latson. Latson, the one-time principal of Spanish River High School, was fired last year when he told a parent that it wasn’t for him to decide whether the Holocaust happened or not.
The comment received international attention, as did the Palm Beach County School Board’s decision last month to rehire Latson. The school board feared a lawsuit would cost the school district more than Latson’s $160,000 salary. An administrative law judge in late summer decided that the school board went too far in firing Latson for the comment. Latson was to be placed in a back office job.
But the greater Boca Raton community — and its large Jewish presence — protested, saying it was outrageous that Latson was being placed back on the public payroll. School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri, Jr., ultimately decided to revisit the issue. So many members of the public signed up to speak that the meeting was continued to today. The board this morning voted unanimously to rescind the decision to rehire Latson.
Latson, in the days leading up to Monday’s meeting, released a video apology. The video and transcript are below.
It was not immediately clear if Latson intends to fight the School Board’s decision.
“Hello, I’m Dr. William Latson. I’ve been an educator in Palm Beach County Schools for 26 years, and a high school principal for eight. You may have heard of my case before the Palm Beach County School Board. I would like you to know of the apology that I’ve delivered to the members of the school board on October 20. And which I recorded for this board to play at their meeting held on October 21. Unfortunately, due to procedural rules, my apology was not heard at the board meeting. Therefore, I’m making this video so it can be heard now.”
“It has come to my attention that on Wednesday, October 7, after the Palm Beach County School Board voted to reinstate my employment. My attorney without my knowledge issued a statement. The statement that I make today, this statement is my sincere statement. When I wrote to a parent the 2018 that as an employee of Palm Beach public schools, I could not state that the Holocaust was a historical fact. I was wrong. I apologize to the Palm Beach County community, the school board, the school administration, the parents, students, teachers of Palm Beach County, the Jewish community, and everyone offended or hurt understate. I am not a holocaust denier. I have never been a holocaust denier. I’m sorry that my comments caused people to think that Palm Beach County Public Schools have an exemplary Holocaust education curriculum, which I ensured was taught to every student without exception. While I was the principal of Spanish river High School. I’m sorry that my comments cause people to question that. Some may say this apology comes too late. But I believe it’s never too late to do the right thing. The right thing for me to do is to make this sincere apology. For the trouble my ill considered remarks cause and express gratitude to Judge Robert Cohen for putting aside public and political pressures to follow the law. I hope that the board will accept this apology and that it will also follow the law. Please let stand my reinstatement and assignment to the assessment department, which you previously approved. It I assure everyone that I intend to serve faithfully and honorably to advance the Palm Beach County Public School mission. That concludes the statement of apology that I wanted everyone to hear at the board meeting of October 21. I appreciate people sharing their thoughts with the Palm Beach County School Board. I welcome comments about this apology. Unfortunately, recorded public comments are limited to one minute each. And the deadline for comments is Friday, October 30. But when do you think I should be allowed to continue the career that I love not your opinion will be heard. Please be sure to state your name and your message as anonymous comments are not accepted. The phone number for public comments is 561-684-5103.”
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