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By Jennifer Johnson, Published August 22 2013

Nybladh: ‘I regret my remark’

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Grand Forks Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nybladh issued an apology Thursday after a Fargo television host said the official used a curse word on the host after an interview.

Nybladh said in a press release he regretted his choice of words.

“I know the job of superintendent is 24/7 and I hold myself to a high standard,” he said. “I was taken aback and frustrated with the style of journalism, especially when it turned to what I perceived to be an attack on our teachers and students. Even though it was an utterance made only to myself in the privacy of an office, I regret my remark and I am disappointed in myself because this does not reflect my true character. I sincerely apologize to the host of the television program and anyone else who may have been offended by my poor choice of words.”

Nybladh appeared Wednesday on the program “6:30 Point of View,” hosted by Chris Berg, for a Valley News Live broadcast that airs in Grand Forks and Fargo.

Nybladh was discussing the district’s proposed 28.6 percent tax increase to help offset the district’s $5.4 million deficit.

Berg and Nybladh clashed at times during the interview as Berg pressed Nybladh about the district’s budget.

After the interview was broadcast, Berg played an audio recording of what he described as Nybladh calling him a crude word after the interview was complete.

Nybladh, who was touring schools Thursday, could not be reached for comment.

‘Disrespectful’

Board member Tim Lamb said he thinks Berg provoked Nybladh into saying something off the record by the “disrespectful” way he treated him during the interview. It was unprofessional, he said.

“In general, Chris Berg has got the sort of personality that can be corrosive and provoking,” he said. “He’s on the edge of shock journalism.”

Board member Mike St. Onge said there’s no written rule that addresses an instance such as this one, but standard procedure would be that the board president would meet with the superintendent to discuss whether anything should be done about it. St. Onge said he doesn’t know if that happened or not.

“For my purposes, we’ve all done things in life in one moment that we probably wish we could take back,” he said. “This seems like one of those. I know he felt bad about what he said, and I think he handled that well with the apology issued today.”

Several other members could not be reached for comment, including board President Vicki Ericson.

The incident between Berg and Nybladh only serves as a distraction from the more important conversation about the school board’s proposed increase, St. Onge said. The board is still inviting the public to contact the administrative team if they have more questions.

“I want to be sure to encourage dialogue,” he said.

On the Web: To see Berg’s interview with Nybladh, go to bit.ly/13JKpcQ.