Governor, school district offended by 18-year-old's cranky tweet

Kansas high school student Emma Sullivan took a field trip to see Governor Sam Brownback speak. She didn't like what he had to say, and tweeted about what she wished she could do: "just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot." Clearly, this kind of insubordination could not stand. Someone from Brownback's office sent the tweet to someone from the Shawnee Mission School District who sent it to Sullivan's principal, who has demanded that Sullivan write the governor an apology. (Via Chad Manspeaker)


  1. I can’t wait to see what she tweets about her principal.  It sounds as if everybody involved except her needs to grow up a little.

    1. According to the news article she isn’t fighting it because the school threatened her with disciplinary action that would have to be sent to colleges to which she is applying this fall. So they are following up fascist stupidity with fascist manipulation. I doubt she’ll tweet anything about the principal, not only because she seems mature, but because the school holds tremendous power over her future at this moment and seems vindictive enough to use it.

      1. Yeah it probably isn’t worth digging her heels in.  It’s only the first amendment after all. Maybe she plans to go to UC, and doesn’t want to get pepper-sprayed on her first day :)

      2. She should just relabel any disciplinary action as her “Senior Project in Journalism” when she applies.  And she should sue her high school for any ensuing disciplinary action.

      3. According to the news article she isn’t fighting it because the school threatened her with disciplinary action that would have to be sent to colleges to which she is applying this fall.

        That is sad, not only that the school would resort to bullying, but that it would be useful as a threat at all: I’d love to live in a world where colleges might welcome somebody with strong opinions and the courage to express them.  As it is, s/welcome/pepper spray/ as required.

      4. If she was smart she would tell them to go ahead, then ask does she serve the lawsuit on them directly or do they have a lawyer.

        If a college is going to reject her based on a single letter of “she hurt the Governors feelings and didn’t cave in when we demanded it” she really should not consider attending that school.  Any school that rejected her on that letter will have a hard time spinning her rejection in the media.

        I think she needs to draw as much attention as possible to her situation and ask the school board and the principal if this is their standard response to a bullying incident.  Given my lack of first hand knowledge I can’t say for sure, but I am willing to bet these open minded people have a wonderful anti-bullying campaign designed to make the target stop complaining and bothering them.  So they have different rules for people with “power”, that might be the most useful thing they can teach her – People with power don’t need to follow the rules despite all of that crap we forced to you to memorize about everyone being equal.

        I think everyone in Kansas needs to start flooding twitter with the long list of things this Governor has done wrong, they don’t seem to be listening to the people in any other fashion and his head might just explode with that much bad PR to try and shut down.

  2. Eighteen year old? As in, eligible to vote? No right to express her opinion about elected officials? Why? Because she’s in school?

    I’m sorry, I’d like to say something more coherent, but I’ll save it for my multiple irate letters to the principals involved.

  3. One of the few times when an ‘I’m sorry your feelings were hurt’ apology would actually be appropriate, imo.

  4. Anyone else appalled that the governor is focusing on monitoring social media while the state of Kansas goes broke? Sounds like his staff needs to spend their time actually SERVING the public instead of spying on them. 

      1. Right now a governor who is a twit. And we don’t call it Kansas anymore. We’ve renamed it Brownbackistan. 

    1. Generally the PR department isn’t comprised of accountants.

      I mean, I get your point.  But this argument is so futile, as it seems to assume that councils and governments are staffed by 1 person who can only do 1 thing at a time.

    2. Actually, I know a lot of people are appalled by this aspect (monitoring the nets), but I’m not.  Any good governor should be listening to what the people say publicly, including on the internet.   The evil lies in both his response, and the response of the school.   That’s the really scary thing, threatening Sullivan’s future because she was not ‘respectful’.

  5. So, the governor’s office contacted the school.  Shouldn’t the governor’s office tweeted her back and asked to have her speak with the Governor or a staff member to discuss what policies and procedures she specifically did not like?  The governor could have reached out to a potential voter instead of trying to shut down the student’s first amendment rights.

  6. thinkprogress tweeted this link:

    I love this part of the article “As of Wednesday, the offending tweet remained on Emma Sullivan’s Twitter page despite a suggestion by her principal that she remove it. It’s still there alongside tweets from a recent “Twilight” movie marathon and her thoughts on Justin Bieber’s holiday CD (“Just found out justin bieber raps in his christmas album… #mixedfeelings”).”

    1. In addition to being a BoingBoing reader, I’m also on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition Against Censorship. NCAC is aware of this and I’m trying to get in touch with her to make sure she has all the support she needs. 

  7. “Dear Gov. Brownback: I’m sorry that that the seat of governor in this state is filled by someone who can not take criticism, and, more precisely, I’m sorry that it’s you.”

  8. Wait, which fucking country are we talking about here?

    This sounds like something from a dictatorial human rights shithole like Singapore or Burma or somewhere.

    I could have sworn the article said Kansas… but that can’t be right. That’s in the land of the free.

    How blatant an omen that you’re beyond the thin end of the wedge do you need? Your frog is nearly cooked.

  9. She should stand up for herself! I’d like to know what he said that she thought sucked. It’s probably a completely intelligent, honest response to a bunch of political drivel. Or even if it isn’t, its ‘s her right to say whatever the F she wants.

  10. “Dear Governor Brownback, I’m sorry that I told you, in person, that you suck.  In retrospect, I should have posted it online to every website I could find, with accompanying mashed-up video that would go viral and eventually run on CNN for about a week as they discuss how the Internet has empowered the formerly politically powerless”

  11. This is just crazy!  Kansas will make it into the National spotlight again….for being backwards and STUPID!!!  I hope Kansans are watching and will make a DiFFERENT choice during the next election!

    1. Dear Governor Shitstain: I’m sorry that you must now be summarily executed for treason.

      You vile fucking vermin.

      …Maybe that’s a bit much.

      Dear Governor Shitstain: I’m sorry that you must now be fed your own balls?

      I’m sorry that you fit the criteria for requiring re-education?

      I’m sorry that your heart pumps pure liquid shit?

      I’m sorry that a frontal lobotomy would significantly improve your personality?

      I’m sorry that you’ve proved yourself a worthless self-aggrandising parasite.

      …Hey. Hang on a second, I’m forgetting about all the soulless bureaucrats who didn’t stand in the way when this turd was handed down the line.

      That the school (and its whole system, apparently) is pandering to this sort of imperial decree is staggering beyond belief.

      And the fact that the entire nation isn’t in uproar over this utter malarkey isn’t just a scandal, it’s proof American democracy is dead.

  12. I have crafted the below e-mail, to be sent to the following people (the superintendent and school board of the district):;;;;;;;

    You should also consider CCing the principal involved:

    To the Superintendent and Members of the Board of Education of Shawnee Mission School District,

    It is your duty as officials of the State of Kansas, representatives of an educational institution, and Citizens of the United States to uphold the First Amendment, in its entirety, at all times. According to, a major violation of the First Amendment has taken place within the purview of your district. 

    As such, it is your duty to ask for the immediate resignation of Dr. Karl Krawitz, the principal referenced, and to fire him if he does not comply. It is also your duty issue a public apology from the district to Ms. Emma Sullivan for the violation of her First Amendment Rights. Please, do the right thing.

    Thank you,

    Concerned Citizen of the United States

  13. I find it very interesting that this Republican Governor who continually bad mouths the President of the United States in public should has the Balls to complain about a teenager who says he SUCKS. Come on Mr. Principal where do you think these kids pick this up from? Just listen to the GOP candidates Lie about the President and each other and say mean things about their opponents daily and “THATS OK. The Politicians are teaching our young prople to say things like this. I cant believe Mr Principal you are threatenint this student with black listing her to colleges she may be applying to. “APPALLING”  YOUR THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE DICIPLINED FOR YOUR JUVINILE BEHAVIOR”.  GET REAL!!

  14. Brownback sends his police dogs out for the grown women:

  15. It’s a public school.  That means the principal works for the state.  Surely the state can’t allow citizens to express dislike for incumbent politicians.  After all, this is North Korea.

Comments are closed.