Congressman Ted Deutch issued this statement following reports that Spanish River High School Principal William Latson told a parent that he: “Can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event. Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”
And the principal’s reassignment by the Palm Beach County School District:
“I really don’t understand how the principal of Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton could question the historical fact that is Hitler’s slaughter of six million Jews.”
“My children attended Spanish River, and they participated in Holocaust education programs with some of the many Holocaust survivors who live in our community.”
Palm Beach County, Broward County, and the entire State of Florida teach the Holocaust as historical fact, a fact that is immensely personal for so many residents of South Florida.
As a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and a founder of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, I am immensely troubled that 2/3 of young Americans could not identify Auschwitz and over 40 percent believe less than two million Jews were killed.
I am just shocked that the Spanish River principal couldn’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event. And I cannot believe the school district labeled this incident and the principal’s leadership a “distraction.”
I am grateful to the parent who kept pressing for more than a year. But it shouldn’t have required a Herculean effort to effect a positive outcome – an apology and a recommitment by the County to offer more Holocaust education.
My Task Force, together with Sen. Jackie Rosen and her colleagues in the Senate, and Elan Carr, the administration’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, will make Holocaust education a national priority.
Holocaust denial feeds anti-Semitism, which leads too often to violence and death, here in America and around the world.
Bold steps are required – by all of us – to ensure the history of the Holocaust and the Nazis’ efforts to eradicate the Jewish people are never questioned – anywhere.