Brownback: ‘I apologize’ to teen who says I suck

By David Edwards
Monday, November 28, 2011 15:42 EDT
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A Kansas teen, who sent out a tweet critical of Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS), not only won’t be punished, she’s also getting an apology directly from the governor.

“My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that, I apologize,” Brownback said in a statement. “Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.”

Emma Sullivan, 18, was hauled into her principal’s office Friday and ordered to write letters of apology after someone from Brownback’s office contacted the tour organizer to complain about the offending note on the social networking site Twitter.

“Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot,” she tweeted. The teen has admitted that she never said such a thing to the governor during her visit to the state capitol, but wrote it as a joke to her friends.

Writing on Twitter Sunday, Sullivan announced she had made the decision not to apologize.

“I’ve decided not to write the letter but I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard! #goingstrong,” Sullivan wrote.

“I would do it again,” she told The Associated Press.

On Monday, the Shawnee Mission School District also backed down, saying that Sullivan would not be punished.

“[The district] acknowledges a student’s right to freedom of speech and expression is constitutionally protected,” a statement said.

“The district has not censored Miss Sullivan nor infringed upon her freedom of speech. She is not required to write a letter of apology to the Governor. Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved. The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media.”

Watch this video from KMBC, broadcast Nov. 28, 2011.


– with AFP

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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