Teen’s joking tweet on Topeka trip creates a capital fracas
It appears that the Kansas governor has excessively thin skin.
Emma Sullivan’s trip to Topeka with other high school students to learn about government taught her a few unexpected lessons:
• Gov. Sam Brownback’s office monitors social media for postings containing the governor’s name.
• Some folks exhibit little sense of humor or appreciation of free expression.
• And sometimes a few “joking” words can land a student in the principal’s office, drafting a letter of apology.
All that resulted from a tweet the Shawnee Mission East High School senior wrote Monday during Brownback’s greeting to young people who were brought in for a closer look at the political process.
“Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot,” Sullivan thumbed from the back of the crowd.
She actually made no such comments. “Joking around,” Sullivan says of the incident.
Brownback’s director of communication wasn’t amused when the tweet was spotted during the routine daily monitoring of comments on Twitter and Facebook mentioning the governor’s name.
“That wasn’t respectful,” responded Sherriene Jones-Sontag. “In order to really have a constructive dialogue, there has to be mutual respect.”
Brownback’s brief speech to the students encouraged them to “be active in their government, community and public service,” Jones-Sontag says.
The tweet was the only one brought to her attention that day, she says, and it was passed along to the Youth in Government program, which organized the students’ visit to the capital.