An 18-year-old student won’t apologize for a rude tweet about Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, despite her high school principal’s demand. Emma Sullivan said she isn’t sorry.
As the governor greeted Youth in Government participants in Topeka last week, Sullivan tweeted: “Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person (hash)heblowsalot.”
She actually made no such comment and said she was “just joking with friends.” But Brownback’s office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor’s name, saw Sullivan’s post and contacted the Youth in Government program.
Which sounds awfully petty.
YiG contacted Sullivan’s principal, who gave her talking points for a written apology. It’s not clear if her refusal to apologize will have consequences. (Update: The governor has apologized for his staff’s overreaction, reaffirming his support for free speech, and the principal has backed down as well.)
Sullivan said she disagrees with Brownback politically, particularly his decision to veto the Kansas Arts Commission’s entire budget, making Kansas the only state in the nation to eliminate arts funding. Brownback has argued arts programs can flourish with private dollars and that state funds should go to core government functions, such as education and social services.
“I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Gov. Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her,” said Julie Sullivan, the student’s mother.