Emma Sullivan does not have to write Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback an apology for her Twitter comment, as she likely would not have done anyway.
The 18-year-old Shawnee Mission East High School senior was making a joke when she tweeted to a friend that after a school-sponsored visit to the Kansas statehouse: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.” Little did Sullivan know that all Hell would break loose. Her inside joke was discovered by the watchful eyes of staffers of the former U.S. Senator and House member — who once considered a run for the GOP presidential race — and she was ratted out to her principal. The staff apparently scans social media daily to see if anyone needs to be hunted down and water-boarded for making rude comments about Gov. Brownback.
Now no school administrator likes waves being made whether it be the size of a tsunami or a fart in the bathtub. One can only imagine the Shawnee Mission East heads of state scrambling for their figurative lifeboats after the Guv’s office called about one of their students.
Sullivan said she was summoned to the office by her principal and told that major damage control was needed. She was ordered to write a letter of apology by today. Sullivan didn’t do it.
Brownback, not calling Sullivan by name, himself apologized for what he termed an overreaction by his staff. I bet the staff was thrilled at getting thrown under the bus for keeping out such watchful eyes. The school district likewise issued a statement to the media, saying Sullivan would not be required to write an apology nor would she be censored. The statement also said the episode resulted in many “teachable moments” with respect to the use of social media. Hey, I once saw Barack Obama from more than 300 yards away. Barack Obama regularly “e-mails me.” And you, the Shawnee Mission School District officials, are no Barack Obama.
That such foolish and anti-democratic actions are generated from Brownback and his camp is not at all surprising. Brownback was linked to the controversial “C Street House,” a well-connected conservative religious ‘frat house,’ in Washington when he was a member of Congress. Other reports have characterized the Kansas Republican as envisioning a “fascist theocracy” in the nation.
Luckily things worked out for Sullivan and she wasn’t subjected to something really stupid like suspension or being prevented from graduation. That would have really been sad but not unpredictable when you have thin-skinned and paranoid pols, as well as school administrators who believe that learning CYA is more important than the ABCs.