Chairman’s remarks come in the wake of Spanish River principal saying he couldn’t say Holocaust was a “factual, historical event.”
Palm Beach County’s school board chairman reaffirmed the commitment to Holocaust education on Sunday in the wake of a principal’s email exchange with a parent in which the principal refused to call the attempted genocide of the Jewish people in Europe a historical fact.
“Every generation must recognize, and learn from, the atrocities of the Holocaust’s incomprehensible suffering and the enduring stain that it left on humankind,” said Board Chairman Frank A. Barbieri Jr. in a released statement Sunday.
The Palm Beach Post reported last week that Spanish River High School Principal William Latson told a parent inquiring about Holocaust education in April 2018 at the 2,500-student campus west of Boca Raton that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”
He went on to say, “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” because some parents may not have the same beliefs.
The Palm Beach Post obtained the email exchange through a public records request.
Latson, in a statement to the Post, said the email did not express his actual beliefs that Holocaust didn’t occur and that he regretted the language.
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He said the Holocaust is taught in 9th- and 10th-grade English classes at Spanish River as a component of U.S. and world history, as well as in a separate elective course.
On Sunday, Barbieri felt it necessary to reiterate the district’s position that “leaves no room for erroneous revisions of fact or the purge of anti-Semitism.”
Barbieri said the school district is “one of the few” that has a curriculum administrator dedicated solely to Holocaust studies education.
He said the school board appreciated the feedback from those in our community who have “made their voices heard” following The Post’s story on the email and said “this situation is being investigated at the highest levels of the District Administration.”