Emma Sullivan, 18, of Fairway, Kansas, was reprimanded by the head of Shawnee Mission East High School and ordered to write letters of apology after an official from Governor Sam Brownback’s office contacted her school to complain about a note that she wrote on Twitter (video below).
“Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot,” Sullivan tweeted on Twitter while meeting Gov. Brownback on a school field trip to Topeka, Kansas.
Sullivan didn't actually speak to Gov. Brownback, but said she wrote it to get a laugh out of her friends.
The principal “laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment,” Sullivan later 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.”
Brownback’s office regularly monitors social media for references to the Republican governor to see what his constituents are saying about him, spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag told the paper.
His secretary forwarded a copy of the tweet to organizers of the school-sponsored event “so that they were aware what their students were saying in regards to the governor’s appearance."
“I’m mainly shocked that they would even see that tweet and be concerned about me,” Sullivan told the Wichita Eagle. “I just honestly feel they’re making a lot bigger deal out of it than it actually was.”
Brownback’s office did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.
“In general,” spokeswoman Leigh Anne Neal said in an e-mail, “students on school-sponsored field trips, in which they are representing the school, would be expected to conduct themselves in accordance with school district policies, including use of electronic devices."
“Students may express their personal beliefs, views, and opinions, as long as they do so appropriately and in accordance with school policies.”
However, Sullivan says she won't be writing any letters of apology and has garnered online support. Her Twitter account grew from a few dozen followers to more than 4000 as of early Sunday evening.