Brownback tweet causes uproars

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December 1, 2011  
Filed under Feature

Emma Sullivan, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, will no longer have to write a letter of apology to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback after visiting his office during a Youth in Government program and updating her Twitter, saying that Brownback “sucks.” Despite not having to write a letter of apology as recommended by Shawnee Mission East adminstration, the controversy is still lingering.

“I think there was some overreaction,” Dru Sadler, a history teacher at GHCS, said of Brownback’s reaction to the tweet.

“She should be able to say what she wants,” Noah McCallum, a sophomore at GCHS, said. “The same rights that allow anybody to say what they feel are applicable here.”

While free speech rights may be protected, the tweet by Sullivan occured during a school-sponsered event, which has raised some questions.

“What I am wondering is why she (Sullivan) was even using Twitter during the event,” Sadler said. “Not that Emma doesn’t have free speech rights, but during a school event, something like that is uncalled for, especially considering the language she used.”

Many feel that although Emma has the right to voice her opinion, the way she went about it was wrong.

“I believe the school did a good thing in talking to Sullivan about her behavior,” Kelly Daniels, a history teacher at GCHS, said. “If she had stated her opinion in a mature, thoughtful manner, and Brownback had still become upset, I would be supporting her. But being her comments were rather rude and immature, I am glad to see the school step in.”

Sullivan landed in hot water after tweeting during a speech by Brownback, saying “Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.”¬† Sullivan never actually told Brownback anything¬†face to face, but describe the tweet as “joking around.” Brownback’s communications office had found the tweet, and forwarded it to Shawnee Mission East administration.

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