Senate panel approves Lauren Book Holocaust education bill after Auschwitz survivor testifies

lauren book
Legislation comes after a school principal reportedly questioned the Holocaust.

Auschwitz survivor Magdalen Bader appeared before the Senate Thursday to advocate for a Holocaust education bill being pushed by Sen. Lauren Book.

That bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday morning. That hearing marked its final committee stop, meaning the measure is ready for the full Senate floor.

Bader was born in Czechoslovakia and survived several concentration camps, including Auschwitz.

“I may look like I’m happy and smiling — and I am — but inside me, every day I think of all the horrors that we went through,” Bader said.

“I cannot believe that this happened to me and so many millions of others many, many, many years ago. But it’s still very important to remember.”

State law already requires the Holocaust to be taught in Florida’s public schools. Book’s bill (SB 1628) would expand that education by also mandating students to be taught about anti-Semitism.

The legislation also requires school districts and charter schools to annually certify to the Department of Education (DoE) schools are meeting those requirements.

The measure also tasks the DoE with preparing minimum standards for the Holocaust curriculum.

The DoE would “work with the Florida Holocaust Museum and other state or nationally recognized Holocaust educational organizations to develop grade-appropriate curricula, training for instructional personnel, and classroom resources for the instruction required.”

A House companion measure from Rep. Randy Fine (HB 1213) has already cleared its three scheduled committee stops.

The legislation was filed following controversy last year, where former Spanish River High School principal William Latson told a parent, “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

Latson had been asked by a student’s parent in 2018 about the school’s curriculum on the Holocaust. He added, “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 claimed his comments to the parent were “not accurately relayed to the Post and other media outlets.

“It is unfortunate that someone can make a false statement and do so anonymously, and it holds credibility, but that is the world we live in,” he said at the time.

But the situation caused a stir among those who felt more should be done to ensure students are informed about one of the worst atrocities in human history.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Vicente Thrower

    February 28, 2020 at 1:12 am

    It is totally amazing how I state senator Who does nothing for the African-American community can be pushing a bill for the holocaust to be mandatory but won’t push anything for African-Americans since she’s been in the state Senate and to add on how her nonprofit benefits from state dollars paid for by African-Americans alike!!!!! So on behalf of African-Americans we are sick and tired of the wealthy elite Democrats who say they’re fighting for the African-American and yet has the audacity to tear down an African-American black principal a male principal at that!! We will never support state senator book if she ever runs for statewide office

  • Vicente Thrower

    February 28, 2020 at 1:18 am

    PS you have my word that every black pastor every male African-American pastor will know that state senator book and any Democratic colleagues who thinks that they’re going to put their feet into a black church would know how she tore down an African-American principal male principal at a time When I have kids and children in the African-American community are looking for a role model fathers…. she takes it as a badge of honor and taking down an African-American male principal….. but name one thing that she has done for African-American children or any programs for the African-American community but yet as a Democrat want the blacks to always vote for them!!! We will never vote for anyone that don’t support our community……. these comments on my own and are from the African-American community and pastors of faith In the black church

  • Kenneth Newman

    February 28, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Lauren Book has done plenty for African – American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and White children thru her work to help pass laws to help those children who have been victimized in various trauma situations….Any principal, who would make such a ridiculous, UGLY statement about the Holocaust, doesn’t deserve to work in public schools….But I would say those charter schools run by local Neo-Nazis in Floriduh would welcome him….

  • Rachel

    February 29, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Amazing work Lauran. Magda you are incredible. This is what Never again means… it’s about taking action.

  • Simon Strait

    March 1, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Well, it would be nice if we also mandated that all children be taught about the Atlantic Slave trade, the horrors of the middle passage and the legacy of Jim Crow laws in this country and that ALL schools certify they are meeting this requirement. 6 million Jews died in the holocaust, 40 million negroes died as a result of the slave trade and slavery. When will the black story be told.

Comments are closed.


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