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Superintendent sorry "I have disgraced you," as wrestling community reacts and Board decides fate

Controversy stems from X post on January 29: Girls wrestling "not ready for Prime Time"
Posted at 11:45 AM, Feb 02, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In Plainview, Nebraska, the school board has called an emergency meeting to talk about what's next for its superintendent.

In a now-deleted post, Darron Arlt took to X, saying in part, "Girls wrestling in Nebraska is not ready for Prime Time." He added there's a lot of crying and "drama," and the girls competition shouldn't be included with the boys at state.

The comments were directed at former Husker offensive tackle Rob Zatechka, whose daughter, Piper, is a standout wrestler at Westside High School.

Reaction to Arlt's comments quickly multiplied - including from Piper Zatechka. In speaking out, she said in part, "I'm sorry that due to decades of misogyny, our sport does not have the same level of competition that boys do... I'm sorry that we as a whole state are still growing and learning."

On Facebook, wrestling advocate and former coach Mandi Jensen's reaction to Arlt's comments gained traction, as she made the case that for all athletes in the sport — grit, dedication, persistence, patience and support are required.

3 News Now's Mary Nelson visited with Jensen at her home about the potential impact of Arlt's comments.

"What I really would like for him (Arlt) to think about is all of the little girls in his district that just heard that, 'If I'm a wrestler, I'm not welcome.' And that's basically what he said. I think the NSAA is doing a really good job to move forward with girls wrestling."

She continued, "And as it grows, they will have their own venue. They will have their own tournament. But this is what it is right now. And I've been on the floor on that Friday night session when that whole place is packed. And the girls are not taking anything away from those boys - I promise you. Everyone's there to watch wrestlers."

Doctor Arlt declined an interview with KMTV. In an email, he said, "I take direction from my board and cannot make any further public comments at this time beyond my sincere regret for the thoughtless and hurtful comment and apology to the NE Girls Wrestling community..."

Here is the full text of Arlt's most recent apology:

"I am sorry. My dismissive comments about your readiness for the grandest stage in wrestling were beyond insensitive. This is not reflective of my true heart and my mind. This thoughtless mistake of mine hurt so many of the very people I have spent decades supporting, encouraging, and celebrating. I love my school community here in Plainview and I am especially sorry that I have disgraced you. It is with the most sincere humility that I ask for forgiveness."

The Plainview Public Schools Board of Education will meet on February 2, 2024, at 6:30pm in the high school's media center to "discuss and take possible action on Dr. Arlt's contract and services for the remainder of the school year."

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY: Libby Kamrowski