The Washington Post

Kansas Gov. Brownback’s apology to tweeting student

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback today admitted that his staff overreacted in getting a student in trouble with her principal after she tweeted something negative about him — and he apologized.

Here’s the full apology, posted on his Facebook page:

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

“I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future.

 “I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum.

 “Again, I apologize for our over-reaction.”

What happened was this:

Emma Sullivan, 18, a senior from Shawnee Mission East High School , went with some students to Topeka to learn about the political process. While listening to a speech by Brownback and during the event, Emma Sullivan, 18, tweeted this from the back of the crowd: “Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person ... ”

She didn’t really say that to him, the Kansas City Star reported, but said she sent the tweet as a joke to her friends.

People in Brownback’s office saw the tweet and shared it with the Youth in Government program, which had brought the students to Topeka. Sullivan’s principal, Karl R. Krawitz, was notified and he ordered her to write an apology. She refused.

A lot of media attention obviously persuaded Brownback to apologize to Sullivan for violating her rights of freedom of expression.

Too bad that’s what it took to get this silliness ended.

Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page. Bookmark it!

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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