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Principal fired in Holocaust controversy goes to Florida Supreme Court

The case stems from a 2018 email that William Latson, then a high school principal, sent to a parent.
Former Spanish River High School principal William Latson gets a hug after the Palm Beach County School Board voted to fire him on Oct. 30, 2019. He's taking the issue to the Florida Supreme Court.
Former Spanish River High School principal William Latson gets a hug after the Palm Beach County School Board voted to fire him on Oct. 30, 2019. He's taking the issue to the Florida Supreme Court. [ GREG LOVETT | Palm Beach Post ]
Published Jan. 18

A Palm Beach County school principal whose comments about the Holocaust spurred a high-profile controversy is challenging his firing at the Florida Supreme Court.

An attorney for William Latson filed a brief Monday asking the Supreme Court to take up a dispute about the Palm Beach County School Board’s decision to fire him. The filing came after the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the firing in November.

The controversy stemmed from an email that Latson, then the principal of Spanish River High School, sent to a parent in 2018. In part, Latson wrote in the email, “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,” according to documents filed in his case. The firing came after a series of events in 2019 after The Palm Beach Post reported on the Holocaust comment.

But Administrative Law Judge Robert Cohen in 2020 issued a recommended order that called for rescinding the firing saying there was a lack of evidence that Latson “engaged in misconduct in office, incompetence, or gross insubordination. There was, therefore, no just cause for his suspension and termination.”

The School Board, however, rejected Cohen’s recommendation and moved forward with the firing. In the brief filed Monday at the Supreme Court, Latson’s attorney contends the 4th District Court of Appeal improperly upheld the School Board decision.

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