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Election Loser Sues Board Over Leaked Letter

Sun., June 2, 1996

A losing political candidate has sued the school board because a letter she wrote asking that her son be excused from a field trip to the Holocaust Museum was leaked to a newspaper.

In the 1992 letter, Debra Coleman Warner said that “allegations regarding treatment of Jews during the war years have been grossly exaggerated,” and that she did not want her son exposed to “propaganda.”

Warner, who lost a Nov. 18 parish council runoff to incumbent Clay Cosse, asked for unspecified damages for herself and her son Scott Warner, now a student at Chalmette High School.

“The lawsuit is not an effort to vindicate Ms. Warner’s particular viewpoint. It has to do with her right to have a viewpoint, and it has to do with the sanctity of a child’s private education records,” Warner’s attorney James R. Hashek said Friday.

Defendants include a teacher who taught Scott Warner in 1992 at Chalmette Middle School, the St. Bernard Parish School Board, Superintendent Daniel Daste and board President Diana Dysart.

“This (letter) was not part of the educational or permanent record of the child. I think she’s making a mountain out of a molehill,” Daste said. “The bottom line is she is trying to somehow tie this to her losing the election.”

The Times-Picayune printed excerpts from the 1992 letter two days before the runoff, and two days after it had published a long article about Warner’s ties to the white supremacist New Christian Crusade Church.

The first article quoted her as denying any involvement in the church or any racism.


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