November 28, 2011

Teenager faces down Kansas governor and school principal

High schooler Emma Sullivan refuses to apologize to the governor of Kansas Sam Brownback for criticizing him on Twitter. The governor's staff apparently scours the internet for unflattering things about him and noticed her tweet and reported her to her school principal who, rather than stand up for Emma's free speech rights (after all, if making fun of a politician isn't allowed by the First Amendment, what is?) demanded that she apologize.

You knew from the beginning that this could not help but end badly for Brownback and so it has. He is now forced to apologize for his staff over-reacting. The school district has also backed off in its demand for an apology.

Once again, I think that this is a victory for the internet. Emma received a lot of support from the blogosphere and it may have helped her stand firm against the bullying.

Way to go, Emma.


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Hurrah for Emma!

Seriously ... if I had a staff and one of my staff members came to me with information that a teen had tweeted bad things about me, I would be seriously questioning my ability to hire competent people.

Unreal story here ...

Posted by Tim on November 29, 2011 08:02 AM

I'm surprised more ire hasn't been aimed at the principal. Since he was attempting to deprive Ms. Sullivan of her rights (and since she is 18, she's an adult) he should be fired.

Posted by Scott on November 29, 2011 09:10 AM

If the girl had accused Brownback of being another Jerry Sandusky, he would have had a valid gripe. If she had suggested that some form of violence befall him, he would have had a valid gripe.

But she said nothing remotely close to either. She said, "He sucks", as if to say, "He's lousy", a statement that could never be construed as a threat nor as libel or slander in any courtroom, except maybe Singapore. (Which would you label a tweet, as libel or slander?)

The smartest thing he and his staff could have done was to ignore her. Instead, they made him look like a petty and juvenile idiot. Brownback handled this as badly as Anthony Weiner and Mark Sanford handled theirs.


Posted by P Smith on November 30, 2011 12:41 PM