12 Oct Rehiring a Holocaust Denier
As a rabbi, resident of Palm Beach County, and father of children in the Palm Beach County schools, I was shocked and dismayed to see that the Palm Beach County School Board made national news for reinstating William Latson, a principal who could not confirm the reality of the Holocaust, demonstrating that he is either anti-Semitic, ignorant, or both. In a lame attempt at a defense, he argued that stating the holocaust happened was outside the scope of his responsibilities, and suggested that slavery is also a political issue on which he cannot take a stand. More than mere ignorance, this suggests an unwillingness to take any meaningful historical or ethical stances.
Would we tolerate a school official who refused to say that Black slavery happened, that prejudice against Muslims or Catholics is bad, or that women should vote?
Holocaust denial is a dangerous form of anti-Semitism, and in a world where hatred is on the rise we need schools and school leaders who will take strong stands against all forms of hatred, including racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. Our children need to be able to identify hatred and evil when they see it. If our school leaders have no historical or ethical clarity, what in the world will they communicate to our children?