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Palm Beach Principal William Latson Fired For Second Time Over Holocaust Comments

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) - A Palm Beach high school principal who was fired for comments he made regarding the Holocaust, who was then reinstated, has been fired again.

On Monday, Palm Beach County School Board members voted unanimously to rescind their reinstatement of Spanish River High School Principal William Latson.

Last October, Latson was fired by the board on grounds of "ethical misconduct" and "failure to carry out job responsibilities." The official justification for his termination was the failure to return messages from school district officials in the days after his comments made international news.

Latson had initially been reassigned from the Boca Raton school to a district office job because of the outcry over his email to a mother who inquired whether the school's students study the Holocaust. Latson, who had been at Spanish River for eight years, replied to the mother that as an educator his job was to be "politically neutral."

"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," he wrote.

The mother, thinking Latson had expressed himself poorly, wrote back, saying, "The Holocaust is a factual, historical event. It is not a right or belief."

Latson replied, "Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened." He added, "You have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs."

But the board decided last month to rehire him after an administrative judge ruled he shouldn't have been fired.

School Board member Barbara McQueen said she changed her mind, and supported the second termination after she learned Latson had allowed some students to opt-out of the state-mandated instruction on the Holocaust. She said she felt Latson had opened the door to denying the atrocity of the Holocaust.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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