Kansas governor’s Twitter Patrol

CNN reports:

A high school senior, who faces a Monday morning deadline to apologize to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for a disparaging tweet, has said she will not write the apology letter.

“I don’t think I should write the letter, and I don’t think it would be the best move for me,” Emma Sullivan, 18, said late Sunday night. “At this time, I do not think an apology would be a sincere thing for me to do.”

Sullivan said her parents and many of her peers support her decision.

The teen made national headlines last week for a tweet she said was intended just for her friends.

During a Kansas Youth in Government field trip to the state Capitol on November 21, Sullivan wrote: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.”

The Shawnee Mission East senior said she did not actually talk to Brownback, and the post referenced a joke she had with a student on the trip.

The next day, she was called into high school principal Karl Krawitz’s office.

“I had no idea what it was about or why I was being called into the office,” she said. “I had never been in trouble before.”

A Brownback staffer had notified the principal, she said.

Now I think what Ms.Sullivan did was foolish and immature– especially since she didn’t actually say to Brownback what she claims to have said. She is hardly the free-speech martyr some are making her out to be. On the other hand, I see no reason she should be made to apologize if it wouldn’t be a sincere apology.

But what strikes me most about the whole episode is that someone on Governor Brownback’s staff was assigned– or took it upon himself or herself– to monitor tweets about the governor, and then considered this silly but non-threatening tweet cause for disciplinary action. Brownback, as it happens, is a very conservative Republican who I presume has pledged not to waste taxpayers’ money. Are taxpayers getting their money’s worth from a staffer whose duties include this sort of thing?

Update: AP reports:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback apologized Monday for his office’s response to a disparaging Twitter post by a high school senior who was attending a school function at the state Capitol.

“My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize,” Brownback said in a Monday statement emailed to The Associated Press. “Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.
The Shawnee Mission East senior decided to not write the apology letter and the school district issued a statement Monday saying there would be no repercussions.

(Hat tip: mesquito)

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