CLAIM: Palm Beach County School District Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald, Professional Standards Chief Vicki Evans-Pare, Instructional Superintendent Dr. Glenda Sheffield, HR Chief Gonzalo LaCava, More Engaged In Misconduct.
BY: EDUCATION DESK | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — A stunning lawsuit just filed by retired Palm Beach County School District HR Investigator Robert Pinkos claims — in dramatic detail — that school district officials engaged in a massive cover-up operation to protect William Latson, the fired Spanish River High School principal who questioned whether the Holocaust took place.
Latson’s comments suggesting the Holocaust never took place, made to a parent, generated international attention and ultimately resulted in his termination.
Latson’s firing took more than a year — and at one point was rescinded before being reinstated. The lawsuit reveals that the school board’s initial reluctance to take decisive action mirrored the chaos taking place behind closed doors. According to the suit, human resources investigator Robert Pinkos was limited in his ability to investigate Latson’s anti-Holocaust comment by other officials who feared Pinkos’ investigation would implicate senior school leaders. Among the claims: Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald, Human Resources Chief Gonzalo LaCava, Professional Standards leader Vicki Evans-Pare, Instructional Superintendent Dr. Glenda Sheffield, and others attempted to cover-up or ignore the comments, then mitigate fallout by attacking Pinkos, reassigning his work location, and disciplining the investigator for workplace issues that never took place. Several senior school district officials also allegedly treated Latson like a hot potato: throwing the controversy to other administrators while claiming it wasn’t their own problem to deal with.
The whistleblower lawsuit just filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court additionally makes the stunning claim that Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald knew about the comments for months before they became public, then looked for a loophole —suggesting that Florida permits educators to question whether the Holocaust was real.
“Mr. Oswald continued by explaining that the study of the Holocaust was a State mandate but there was also an “opt-out” provision in State Statute that not many people knew about. Mr. Oswald stated that although he knew of the Holocaust comments for several months, it was incumbent upon the South Regional Superintendent, Dr. lan Saltzman, to have notified HR of the wrongdoing.
In contrast to his statement, Plaintiff explained that Instructional Superintendent Dr. Glenda Sheffield, and not Dr. Saltzman, was Dr. Latson’s direct supervisor who had the primary responsibility to contact Plaintiff. Importantly, Dr. Saltzman had recently retired from his position and, therefore, became a candidate to be a scapegoat. Plaintiff advised Mr. Oswald that by overlooking Dr. Sheffield’s responsibility and projecting that onto her supervisor was a ladder game that would likely lead back to him. After all, one would assume, the highest-ranking administrator knowing of the wrongdoing would be the responsible party to notify HR.”
As Pinkos continued to ask questions and raise issues about the limited investigation into Latson’s comments, he was reassigned from his office just seven miles from his home to a small office in Boca Raton — 27 miles away.
Pinkos’ lawsuit claims retaliation, harassment, and violation of Florida’s Whistleblower Protection Act. He seeks in excess $30,000 – the statutory minimum.
BocaNewsNow.com encourages you to read the complete lawsuit, below.
UPDATE: The school district issued this statement Friday: “While the District will not discuss the specifics of pending litigation, we look forward to correcting misstatements that are presented in this lawsuit in court.”Pinkos
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