The horrific events of the Holocaust took place close to 80 years ago, with entire bloodlines of Jews wiped out. The events are as important now as they were then with antisemitism on the rise in the United States. In an email to a parent, one high school principal claimed the Holocaust was not a “factual, historical event.”
Teaching students about the Holocaust is a touchy matter with parents either not wanting to expose their children to such atrocities at such an early age, or they are uncomfortable with a discussion of the events that occurred.
Whatever the reason, public schools will usually give parents a heads up that they’re teaching the Holocaust. Some schools will even allow parents to keep their child home during those days.
In 2018 a mother, who did not want her name released, emailed Principal William Latson at Boca Raton’s Spanish River Community High School after she was concerned certain prominent events such as the Holocaust were being glossed over, Huffington Post reported.
Latson responded by explaining that they offer a one-day class for 10th graders to discuss the Holocaust. He also explained some parents “don’t want their children to participate.”
The mother was understandably angered by this statement. “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event,” the mother reportedly responded to him. “It is not a right or a belief.”
Towards the end of the correspondence between the two, which was made available by a public records request, Latson stood firm on his stance, the Washington Post reported.
“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently,” he replied. “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.”
Since the emails were made public, Latson has since apologized for the wording of his email and stated he visited the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. over the summer to better understand the troubling events that led to the Holocaust.
Now maybe he should plan a field trip for students to ensure they also have a clear understanding of that tragic period in history.