Emma Sullivan, Kansas High School Student, Punished For Sam Brownback Tweet

Student Punished After Tweeting Disparaging Comments About Governor

A high school senior was punished after tweeting disparaging remarks about Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

After meeting Brownback on a field trip, 18-year-old Emma Sullivan tweeted, "Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot."

After Brownback's office contacted the school about the tweet, Sullivan was called into the principal's office and reprimanded.

The principal "laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment," she told the Wichita Eagle. "He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it … and now he had to do damage control."

She also told NBC Action News that she was asked to write the governor a formal apology, but has yet to do so.

"I believe that it is my right to state my opinion," she said.

As ThinkProgress notes, she may be right.

"Although public school students’ right to free speech is not unlimited, schools are generally only allowed to discipline students for speech that is disruptive to the school’s learning environment," Ian Millhiser wrote, pointing to a 1969 court case involving students' free speech rights.

UPDATE (Nov. 27, 6:07 p.m.): Sullivan told the Associated Press that "she's not sorry and an apology letter wouldn't be sincere."


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