Not Everyone Believes the Holocaust Happened

 

When we are discussing the Iranians or others in the Middle East, I understand their dismissing the Holocaust as a real event. It goes with the territory, so-to-speak.

But when I heard that a Boca Raton, FL principal wrote in a 2018 email to a parent that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” my jaw dropped.

It appears that Laton Latson, principal at Spanish River High School, was determined to fulfill his understanding of “political correctness” to deal with the situation: the state has mandated since 1994 that the a Holocaust curriculum be taught, but Latson received pushback from some parents; a controversy about the teaching of the Holocaust curriculum at his school had developed. It looks like his idea of soft-pedaling the situation was by writing he needed to be “neutral” about the topic.

Mr. Latson has been moved from his position of principal to another position in the District, and at this writing, a petition to dismiss the principal was set up at change.org and had more than 6,000 signatures.

In addition, several organizations have offered providing additional education and training:

Several Jewish organizations are planning to offer additional Holocaust education to Spanish River and its teachers, including the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, which assists 400 Holocaust survivors in the Boca Raton area, said Danielle Hartman, chief executive officer.

‘We are planning on reaching out to Principal Latson to offer a Holocaust sensitivity training for the faculty and administration and to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust is never forgotten and never minimized,’ Hartman said.

More than 10,000 survivors are estimated to live in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, the second largest concentration in the United States after New York.

 

* * *

 

I’m surprised at my own reaction to this situation: I’m ambivalent about how it’s being handled.

 

  • I think the man was foolish to write what he wrote, and should be counseled on how to address conflicts from students and parents regarding the teaching of the Holocaust; maybe he could even have been suspended for a period. But losing his job?

 

  • Is the Holocaust curriculum adequate and age-appropriate? Does it explain to teachers and students the reasons it is taught in the Florida schools?

 

  • I appreciate that organizations want to be sure that the curriculum is appropriate, but is Holocaust sensitivity training for the teachers and administrators necessary, because of Latson’s bad judgment? (The Jewish organizations “offered” the training, didn’t demand it.)

 

At a time when we keep seeing anti-Semitic activities everywhere, and with Boca Raton having a large Jewish community, I can understand why this situation caused such a stir. But how much of the curriculum should be spent on Holocaust education? Should parents be allowed to pull their children from class when the Holocaust is taught, for whatever reason? I also wonder if the District and local organizations’ responses will be helpful to the school and community.

A description of the Florida curriculum is here .

What are your thoughts?

Published in Education
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There are 68 comments.

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  1. Mark Camp Member

    I wouldn’t want a man with such a dangerously deranged mind to have any involvement in educating our kids. 

    It might be appropriate for government to protect them from the efforts of his sort to influence them.

    But is certainly not appropriate for the state to use its coercive power over us citizens to impose his sick ideas upon our innocent children against our will.

    • #1
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. PHenry Member

    His statement, by itself, is not offensive nor wrong: “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened”.

    Of course, not everyone believes your gender is related in any way to what body parts you were born with, and not everyone believes that the US put a man on the moon or that the earth is spherical.

    The real question should be, is he teaching that the holocaust, or any other historical lesson, is a matter of personal opinion, or that there is a real and verifiable history to teach?

    Many wish to rewrite history, not just the holocaust. After all, if something as verifiable and immutable as your gender is open to interpretation, everything is. I suspect this man is caught up in the ‘feelings trump everything’ world, where if you think 1+1 = 6, that is your truth and should be respected.

    The holocaust is an emotional and offensive topic so it is a flashpoint, but my bet is he would agree that ‘not everyone believes X’ is always a valid statement.

    • #2
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  3. Stina Member

    Touchy subject…

    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school and we have hundreds of museums, movies, and books dedicated to our enlightenment of what happened. But other genocides are not discussed, taught, illuminated, almost as if they never happened.

    The reason given for this is that the holocaust was unique… like American slavery was unique. Numbers are given to prove how unique or that it nearly exclusively targeted Jews.

    I know there is controversy on both those assertions.

    • #3
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. DonG Coolidge

    I had to click the link to find something controversial that he said:

    “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” Laton said in the email. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”

    “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,” Latson added.

    He did apologize for that remark. I think by “can’t say” he did not mean denial, but that he felt the administration discouraged it. The latter is more disturbing than the former. Leftism is a cancer.

    • #4
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    DonG (View Comment):

    I had to click the link to find something controversial that he said:

    “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened,” Laton said in the email. “And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”

    “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,” Latson added.

    He did apologize for that remark. I think by “can’t say” he did not mean denial, but that he felt the administration discouraged it. The latter is more disturbing than the former. Leftism is a cancer.

    If he really thinks it happened he should have damned the torpedoes and proclaimed that it did.

    That he hid behind something as weaselly as “district policy” is an indication that something isn’t right there.

    • #5
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:45 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  6. PHenry Member

    DonG (View Comment):
    And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”

    Just as I suspected. In an attempt to ‘respect’ the beliefs of everyone, there is no truth, no facts. Just each person and their beliefs.

    This is institutional, it is wrapped tightly in the way our education system is wired these days. This man is a scapegoat, he is just following his training and his leadership’s direction. 

     

    • #6
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Gary McVey Contributor

    This wasn’t a one time thing; apparently he’s been saying things like this for years. 

    In the public schools, you can be neutral on whether God created the universe. You can’t be “neutral” on whether or not the Civil War or WWII happened. His remarks and attitude is so strange I don’t think they had much choice but to remove him as principal. My only surprise is he hasn’t played the race card–yet. 

    Generally I am dubious about the real value of sensitivity training, including a visit to holocaust museums; I think it’s more of a symbolic penance than anything useful. 

    • #7
    • July 10, 2019, at 1:49 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t want a man with such a dangerously deranged mind to have any involvement in educating our kids.

    It might be appropriate for government to protect them from the efforts of his sort to influence them.

    But is certainly not appropriate for the state to use its coercive power over us citizens to impose his sick ideas upon our innocent children against our will.

    I don’t think he was driven by belief, @markcamp, mainly stupidity. What people won’t do to avoid controversy!

    • #8
    • July 10, 2019, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    PHenry (View Comment):
    The real question should be, is he teaching that the holocaust, or any other historical lesson, is a matter of personal opinion, or that there is a real and verifiable history to teach?

    This is key, @phenry!

    • #9
    • July 10, 2019, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DonG (View Comment):
    He did apologize for that remark. I think by “can’t say” he did not mean denial, but that he felt the administration discouraged it. The latter is more disturbing than the former. Leftism is a cancer.

    That’s why I suggested he had to be counseled on handling these types of conflicts. He handled it badly.

    • #10
    • July 10, 2019, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Generally I am dubious about the real value of sensitivity training, including a visit to holocaust museums; I think it’s more of a symbolic penance than anything useful. 

    I agree, @garymcvey. To me it’s posturing for the crowd (as in Leftism).

    • #11
    • July 10, 2019, at 2:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Is “not everybody” a proxy for the green wing of the red-green alliance? If “not everybody” was “poor whites blaming the Jews for running the world” I rather doubt this official would be worried in the slightest about their feelings about what is taught in a public school.

    • #12
    • July 10, 2019, at 2:53 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Randy Webster Member

    PHenry (View Comment):
    His statement, by itself, is not offensive nor wrong: “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened”.

    Susan confirmed this in her first sentence.

    • #13
    • July 10, 2019, at 3:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. DonG Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Is “not everybody” a proxy for the green wing of the red-green alliance?

    Wait, what do *you* think the “green” refers to? I thought it was environmentalists.

    • #14
    • July 10, 2019, at 3:46 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. DonG Coolidge

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school

    I wonder if this is done, because if kids are taught about the parade of genocide in history, they will stop hating America as the Leftists teach it. For example, if kids know about the Japanese atrocities in WWII, they would be less shocked by the temporary internment of some Japanese Americans. “Kids, every race and creed has done horrible things and some are still happening.” does not fit the Leftist narrative.

    That said, the Holocaust is good to focus on. It is well documented, breathtaking in scale, and fairly recent. 

    • #15
    • July 10, 2019, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    DonG (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school

    I wonder if this is done, because if kids are taught about the parade of genocide in history, they will stop hating America as the Leftists teach it. For example, if kids know about the Japanese atrocities in WWII, they would be less shocked by the temporary internment of some Japanese Americans. “Kids, every race and creed has done horrible things and some are still happening.” does not fit the Leftist narrative.

    That said, the Holocaust is good to focus on. It is well documented, breathtaking in scale, and fairly recent.

    Interesting ideas, @dong. I had never heard of the Rwanda genocide, which boggles the mind for 1 million dying over about three months. When I read about it and the atrocities, it was overwhelming. It did broaden my perspective about man’s inhumanity to man, too.

    • #16
    • July 10, 2019, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Is “not everybody” a proxy for the green wing of the red-green alliance?

    Wait, what do *you* think the “green” refers to? I thought it was environmentalists.

    There are two usages of the term; the Socialist/Environmentalist alliance was the original, but now its often used to refer to the Leftist/Muslim alliance. The former has for all practical purposes been amalgamated into modern Progressivism, while the latter still involves quite distinct factions held together by common interests, as well as the Leftist doctrine that ‘disadvantaged’ groups can never be guilty of, or held to account for, things like bigotry and discrimination. The more…..professionally indoctrinated among the Leftist believe that this alliance will contribute to the gradual erosion of religious* belief among Muslims in the long-term, alleviating its inherent contradictions. Besides, both groups oppose religious liberty and freedom of speech.

    *Because they believe religiosity, not specific religious beliefs, lead to extremism and terrorism. Oh, and don’t forget about Imperialism and Colonial grievances, which as everyone knows, only happened to Muslims.

    • #17
    • July 10, 2019, at 4:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    You’d almost think there was a vast left wing conspiracy.

    YouTube’s ‘hate speech’ edicts have hit history documentaries rather hard – many documentaries dealing with Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party have been deleted as hate speech. 

    Award winning documentary deleted as hate speech

    Its like they’re making a concerted effort to forget history.

     

    • #18
    • July 10, 2019, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    You’d almost think there was a vast left wing conspiracy.

    YouTube’s ‘hate speech’ edicts have hit history documentaries rather hard – many documentaries dealing with Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party have been deleted as hate speech.

    Award winning documentary deleted as hate speech

    Its like they’re making a concerted effort to forget history.

     

    Seriously? That is disgraceful. But I shouldn’t be surprised. The Left wants to be the ones who decide what is history worth repeating. I just can’t figure out why the Nazi history wouldn’t serve them well, since they equate Trump and the Right with the Nazis. Or maybe when a person sees the actual history, they realize how absurd the comparison is. Sigh.

    • #19
    • July 10, 2019, at 5:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    DonG (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Is “not everybody” a proxy for the green wing of the red-green alliance?

    Wait, what do *you* think the “green” refers to? I thought it was environmentalists.

    Fair question: Green = Islamist.

    https://ricochet.com/94953/archives/what-exactly-would-the-proposed-tennessee-anti-shariah-bill-do/

    https://ricochet.com/603031/through-the-wormhole-with-the-dnc/

    • #20
    • July 10, 2019, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    You’d almost think there was a vast left wing conspiracy.

    YouTube’s ‘hate speech’ edicts have hit history documentaries rather hard – many documentaries dealing with Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party have been deleted as hate speech.

    Award winning documentary deleted as hate speech

    Its like they’re making a concerted effort to forget history.

     

    Seriously? That is disgraceful. But I shouldn’t be surprised. The Left wants to be the ones who decide what is history worth repeating. I just can’t figure out why the Nazi history wouldn’t serve them well, since they equate Trump and the Right with the Nazis. Or maybe when a person sees the actual history, they realize how absurd the comparison is. Sigh.

    The name calling is only effective, if their is a large part of the public that doesnt understand who the Nazi’s were.

    • #21
    • July 10, 2019, at 5:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    You’d almost think there was a vast left wing conspiracy.

    YouTube’s ‘hate speech’ edicts have hit history documentaries rather hard – many documentaries dealing with Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party have been deleted as hate speech.

    Award winning documentary deleted as hate speech

    Its like they’re making a concerted effort to forget history.

     

    Seriously? That is disgraceful. But I shouldn’t be surprised. The Left wants to be the ones who decide what is history worth repeating. I just can’t figure out why the Nazi history wouldn’t serve them well, since they equate Trump and the Right with the Nazis. Or maybe when a person sees the actual history, they realize how absurd the comparison is. Sigh.

    The name calling is only effective, if their is a large part of the public that doesnt understand who the Nazi’s were.

    Good point. But I think the public gets information about the Nazis from places other than documentaries. It would be interesting to know to what degree the Nazi regime is covered in various textbooks.

    • #22
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:21 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. DonG Coolidge

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    YouTube’s ‘hate speech’ edicts have hit history documentaries rather hard – many documentaries dealing with Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party have been deleted as hate speech. 

    There are alternatives for all the big media sites. BitChute.com has videos. Gab is like Twitter. …

    • #23
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Is “not everybody” a proxy for the green wing of the red-green alliance?

    Wait, what do *you* think the “green” refers to? I thought it was environmentalists.

    Fair question: Green = Islamist.

    https://ricochet.com/94953/archives/what-exactly-would-the-proposed-tennessee-anti-shariah-bill-do/

    Apparently, Conor Friedersdorf has always been what he is. Why was his name apparently erased at a later date, anyway?

    • #24
    • July 10, 2019, at 6:48 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. EJHill Podcaster

    Let’s get to the heart of this stupidity: Exactly how many schools had a history curriculum so deficient that the political class had to mandate we teach WWII and the Shoah? It usually takes quite a bit to get their attention.

    And somebody needs to step up and tell the people on both sides who go around demanding people get fired to go sit in the corner of a round room and do whatever it is that they do until they go blind. The principal wouldn’t have given such a lame excuse if someone had the guy’s back. This isn’t about herding kindergarteners into a room and showing them movies taken during the liberation of the camps. This is high school. And they need to see it and be made to understand that it is not CGI but represents the zenith of real bigotry and hatred. And they need to be taught that that millions of their forefathers took up arms and invaded a continent to stop it.

    Why is this so frigging complicated?!?

    • #25
    • July 10, 2019, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school

    I wonder if this is done, because if kids are taught about the parade of genocide in history, they will stop hating America as the Leftists teach it. For example, if kids know about the Japanese atrocities in WWII, they would be less shocked by the temporary internment of some Japanese Americans. “Kids, every race and creed has done horrible things and some are still happening.” does not fit the Leftist narrative.

    That said, the Holocaust is good to focus on. It is well documented, breathtaking in scale, and fairly recent.

    Interesting ideas, @dong. I had never heard of the Rwanda genocide, which boggles the mind for 1 million dying over about three months. When I read about it and the atrocities, it was overwhelming. It did broaden my perspective about man’s inhumanity to man, too.

    Yes, and Rwanda made a mockery of the “never again” slogan. When the killing is done with machetes, directed from a single AM radio station, it is clear that megadeath is actually tolerable to “civilized” societies.

    • #26
    • July 10, 2019, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    I remember the olden days when “Holocaust Denier” was such a potent political charge, that it was modified for “Climate Denier”, and was not a viewpoint that would be tolerated – irredeemable basket of deplorable.

    Or thinking back even further, I remember Jim Keegstra, who fought a 24 year legal battle after being charged with “Unlawfully spreading Hate” when he taught holocaust denial to his Social Studies classes in Eckville AB. He taught in the Eckville school from 1968 to when he was fired in 1982.

    • #27
    • July 10, 2019, at 8:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school

    I wonder if this is done, because if kids are taught about the parade of genocide in history, they will stop hating America as the Leftists teach it. For example, if kids know about the Japanese atrocities in WWII, they would be less shocked by the temporary internment of some Japanese Americans. “Kids, every race and creed has done horrible things and some are still happening.” does not fit the Leftist narrative.

    That said, the Holocaust is good to focus on. It is well documented, breathtaking in scale, and fairly recent.

    Interesting ideas, @dong. I had never heard of the Rwanda genocide, which boggles the mind for 1 million dying over about three months. When I read about it and the atrocities, it was overwhelming. It did broaden my perspective about man’s inhumanity to man, too.

    Yes, and Rwanda made a mockery of the “never again” slogan. When the killing is done with machetes, directed from a single AM radio station, it is clear that megadeath is actually tolerable to “civilized” societies.

    I’ve never forgotten a book on the Rwanda massacres, We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.

    • #28
    • July 10, 2019, at 9:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    Stina (View Comment):

    Touchy subject…

    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school and we have hundreds of museums, movies, and books dedicated to our enlightenment of what happened. But other genocides are not discussed, taught, illuminated, almost as if they never happened.

    The reason given for this is that the holocaust was unique… like American slavery was unique. Numbers are given to prove how unique or that it nearly exclusively targeted Jews.

    I know there is controversy on both those assertions.

    This post got me thinking. Stalin’s crimes are always downplayed in the sanitized version of history. And Holodomor denial is definitely something that’s increased in the more radical spheres.

    Armenian Genocide denial exists.

    I’m not sure about Mao. I’ve unfortunately listened to some nutjob Maoists and they don’t deny the Great Leap Forward, but defend it as a necessary evil. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there are deniers out there.

    It’s odd that genocide denial has somehow taken on a flat-earth, cult-like following with the modern left.

    • #29
    • July 10, 2019, at 10:39 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  30. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I’m irritated that this is the only genocide taught in school

    I wonder if this is done, because if kids are taught about the parade of genocide in history, they will stop hating America as the Leftists teach it. For example, if kids know about the Japanese atrocities in WWII, they would be less shocked by the temporary internment of some Japanese Americans. “Kids, every race and creed has done horrible things and some are still happening.” does not fit the Leftist narrative.

    That said, the Holocaust is good to focus on. It is well documented, breathtaking in scale, and fairly recent.

    Interesting ideas, @dong. I had never heard of the Rwanda genocide, which boggles the mind for 1 million dying over about three months. When I read about it and the atrocities, it was overwhelming. It did broaden my perspective about man’s inhumanity to man, too.

    Yes, and Rwanda made a mockery of the “never again” slogan. When the killing is done with machetes, directed from a single AM radio station, it is clear that megadeath is actually tolerable to “civilized” societies.

    A single radio station that, in the months before the genocide, spread a constant, everyday barrage of dehumanizing propaganda in pursuit of hysteria, all while being primarily (in the eyes of its listening audience) a music station providing the latest available entertainment. I’m reminded of that every time I think about the state of our oligarchic social media (thank God we have guns). 

    Despite the wishful thinking of some, what happens in such entertainment mediums is very very real, if not now then in the not-too-distant future.

    • #30
    • July 11, 2019, at 2:11 AM PDT
    • Like
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