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Author Topic: Should teen tweeter apologize?  (Read 3842 times)

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Offline Star SafyreTopic starter

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Should teen tweeter apologize?
« on: November 28, 2011, 11:18:17 AM »
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/27/3289038/teen-tweeter-wont-apologize-to.html

Quote
A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback said Sunday that she is rejecting her high school principal's demand for a written apology.

Emma Sullivan, 18, of the Kansas City suburb of Fairway, said she isn't sorry and doesn't think such a letter would be sincere.

The Shawnee Mission East senior was taking part in a Youth in Government program last week in Topeka, Kan., when she sent out a tweet from the back of a crowd of students listening to Brownback's greeting. From her cellphone, she thumbed: "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person (hash)heblowsalot."

She actually made no such comment and said she was "just joking with friends." But Brownback's office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor's name, saw Sullivan's post and contacted the Youth in Government program.

Sullivan received a scolding at school and was ordered to send Brownback an apology letter. She said Prinicipal Karl R. Krawitz even suggested talking points for the letter she was supposed to turn in Monday.

Personally, I fail to see why a legal adult needs to apologize for expressing her political beliefs in a non-disruptive way.  She has no reason to be sorry.  It's a shame politicians and school administrators have enough time to browbeat young people's freedom of expression and instead turn that energy into enlivening political debate and addressing the issues students like her want.

Offline Caeli

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 11:27:40 AM »
Saw this on my Tumblr feed, and I'm glad that she's recanting an earlier promise to send the governor an apology letter. I don't feel like she did anything wrong for expressing her views as she did. She wrote that tweet for her 65 friends, not as a representative of her school or the club of which she was a member, and not to the 3000 followers that she has gained from the publicity of this incident.

I think she could have used more respectful language in her tweet, but I do not think she should apologize for her opinion. It's a shame that the governor's director of communication was putting her energy towards making this an issue at all, rather than reaching out to Emma and engaging her (and her classmates) in a healthy, serious political dialogue.

Definitely think this girl has her head on straight, and I'm glad her mother is supporting her decision.

Quote
Not surprisingly, her personal opinion of Brownback remains low. “I’m just an 18-year-old girl who knows what I believe, and I know what he believes, and we disagree. That is not going to change.”

Quote
"She was talking to 65 friends. And also it's the speech they use today. It's more attention grabbing. I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Gov. Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her." -Julie Sullivan (mother of Emma Sullivan)

Offline Aiden

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 11:35:43 AM »
So, she lied and didn't actually stand up and tell him "He sucked" in person, but tweeted she did?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 11:41:36 AM »
I look at it like this.. you going to make anyone who says it in public send a letter of apology? No. Not something that we can do right? So why is she having to do it for a tweet?

Sorry, it doesn't meet the measure of scope to demand such a thing. I've said 'President X sucks' to a lot of people a LOT of times... I don't see the secret service breaking down my doors demanding an apology.

This is a tempest in a tea pot, it would have been much smarter for the Gov's staff to keep their damn noses out of the girl's tweets or let it go once they found it.

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 11:46:51 AM »
So, she lied and didn't actually stand up and tell him "He sucked" in person, but tweeted she did?

I know, man. The real crime here is lying. And that she's 18 and typing something so juvenile sounding.

But in truth, this is just another example of a bunch of old bastards unable to understand the new era that is the Internet. What could have been absolutely nothing has now turned into a campaign against the Governor and the school. They are putting all this effort in to advertise against themselves, and we have a teenager that did nothing worthwhile getting publicity for something stupid instead of someone that actually makes a difference in the world.

Offline Caeli

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 11:53:28 AM »
This is a tempest in a tea pot, it would have been much smarter for the Gov's staff to keep their damn noses out of the girl's tweets or let it go once they found it.

When I originally read about this, I wondered (aside from why she tweeted about something she didn't even do to begin with) if the governor's staff went after her because they thought they could get her to apologize and make a big fuss out of it that way.

Whatever the reason, it's clearly backfired.

Offline Martee

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 12:29:01 PM »
She shouldn't apologize, although I hope this serves as a good lesson for her, and she attempts to sound a little more intelligent in her public commentary in the future.

What really bugs the crap out of me is the part where a politician's staff 'monitors social media for mention of his name', and then feels obligated to track down the commenter. It should have been immediately apparent that the tweet was nothing particularly noteworthy, and did not warrant any further investigation. I think the way everyone behaved, from the Governer's staff on down to the Principal, is pretty damn reprehensible, and is a very frightening reflection of the degradation of liberties in this country.

Now, if a constituent was tweeting about an actual issue that the Governer could address, I can understand contacting the tweeter. Anything else just screams of police state.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2011, 02:40:23 PM »
She was present at a school-related function and posted something that was a lie.

As a private citizen she had the right to say anything she wants no matter how stupid, disrespectful, immature and idiotic it makes her sound.

You really can't ask a person to apologize for being those things but she should apologize to everyone who read her Tweet because she LIED!


Offline Oniya

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 03:30:40 PM »
Actually, the only thing she lied about was saying it to his face.  She still thinks he sucks.

Now, if she'd tweeted that he swallowed...

Offline Martee

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2011, 03:31:12 PM »
She did lie, and this whole episode makes her look very silly, but the point remains: she lied to her Twitter followers. She owes them an apology, maybe- so be it (and even there I hesitate to use the word 'owe', as the nature of the tweet lends itself to over-the-top, unbelievable exaggeration). Tweet the apology for lying.

Demanding she apologize in writing to an elected official for voicing an (admittedly crass) opinion? Unacceptable.

Offline Star SafyreTopic starter

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 03:34:28 PM »
If bosses told their employees to write an apology for every fib they told online, I think productivity would take a big hit.

Offline Caeli

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 04:10:16 PM »
Yet another update today.

Quote
OPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback apologized Monday for his office's response to a disparaging Twitter post by a high school senior who was attending a school function at the state Capitol.

"My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize," Brownback said in a Monday statement emailed to The Associated Press. "Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms."

Emma Sullivan, 18, of the Kansas City suburb of Fairway, Kan., was taking part in a Youth in Government program last week in Topeka, Kan., when she sent out a tweet from the back of a crowd of students listening to Brownback's greeting. From her cellphone, she thumbed: "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person (hash)heblowsalot."

She said she was just joking with friends, but Brownback's office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor's name, contacted the youth program. Sullivan said she spent nearly an hour in the principal's office and was told to apologize in writing to the governor.

As word of the governor's office reaction spread, Sullivan went from 61 Twitter followers before the incident to more than 9,000 Monday - more than three times the number that follow Brownback's official Twitter account.

The Shawnee Mission East senior decided to not write the apology letter and the school district issued a statement Monday saying there would be no repercussions.

"Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved," the statement said. "The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media. The district does not intend to take any further action on this matter."

Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, said the teen's speech was clearly protected by the First Amendment.

"Saying that the governor is no good and is a blowhard is core protected speech," Bonney said. "It's absolutely what the First Amendment was designed to protect."

Sullivan's 19-year-old sister, Olivia, told the AP her sister was in school Monday when their father talked to school officials. The elder sister, who initially alerted the media about what happened, said she texted with her sister and the teen told her "things were fine."

Emma Sullivan said Sunday that she thought the tweet "has turned into a good starting point to open up dialogue about this ... free speech and the power of social media and the power that people my age could potentially have, that people will listen to us."

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2011, 04:26:51 PM »
If bosses told their employees to write an apology for every fib they told online, I think productivity would take a big hit.

Yeah, I figure if we penalized everyone who spoke out their ass or shot off their mouth we'd never get anything done.

Offline Torch

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 04:49:47 PM »
Facebook is the Devil...and Twitter is his Handmaiden.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2011, 05:41:29 PM »
If bosses told their employees to write an apology for every fib they told online, I think productivity would take a big hit.
All of the people who work for me are expected to be honest and respectful at all times when they represent our company.  Situations that give them problems are referred to me and I handle them.  I don't like being lied to and I don't like it when a client or anyone else is lied to.

In the same way Ms. Sullivan had a responsibility to be respectful and honest even if derogatory as a representative of her school.



Quote

Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, said the teen's speech was clearly protected by the First Amendment.

"Saying that the governor is no good and is a blowhard is core protected speech," Bonney said. "It's absolutely what the First Amendment was designed to protect."

Yet another update today.
Might want to educate the ACLU about the definition of the term Sullivan used.


Yeah, I figure if we penalized everyone who spoke out their ass or shot off their mouth we'd never get anything done.
Sadly, no one holds anyone responsible for anything and therefore jerks like Sullivan are there to be ridiculed.  Holding people to a higher standard is never wrong and her school did the right thing in attempting to censure her.  Demanding an apology may have been too much but she's put herself in a bad spot.  When she applies for anything she'll be Googled and this situation will come up.  She'll be excluded from a lot of things because of it and because of her attitude. 

Offline Serephino

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2011, 05:47:25 PM »
The whole thing is just stupid.  It should never have gone any farther than her Twitter account.  She didn't like him, and that was an opinion.  No one should have to apologize for an opinion. 

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2011, 05:53:31 PM »
Her Twitter account has nothing to do with her high school and nor can the school's principal tell her to perform such actions legally when it does not happen on their grounds or within the extent of her representing her high school.  She was at the meeting as a representative of the "Youth in Government" program which is run by the Youth Council program out of her local government's city hall.  She was not representing her high school, so thus they have no right to demand a writing apology from this student.

If someone should be pissed at her, it should be the program's staff, not her school.

Link for the "Youth in Government" program: http://www.ci.manhattan.ks.us/index.aspx?NID=680
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 05:54:36 PM by Silverfyre »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2011, 05:58:49 PM »

Sadly, no one holds anyone responsible for anything and therefore jerks like Sullivan are there to be ridiculed.  Holding people to a higher standard is never wrong and her school did the right thing in attempting to censure her.  Demanding an apology may have been too much but she's put herself in a bad spot.  When she applies for anything she'll be Googled and this situation will come up.  She'll be excluded from a lot of things because of it and because of her attitude.

I don't AGREE with her actions but last time I checked there was no law against being a smarmy teenager. This was something that should have been ignored and never gotten this much attention.

And it's just another reminder of the 'immortality' of the Net. Twenty years from now her kids can find out about this by googling mom.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2011, 06:01:41 PM »
Or she will be forgotten in six months.  Net "immortality" is a fickle creature. 

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2011, 06:02:50 PM »
Or she will be forgotten in six months.  Net "immortality" is a fickle creature.

Ah.. but your actions remain on the net no matter what.. I can find my first fanfiction no matter what. Checking certain sites shows every address I've had in the last 17 years.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2011, 06:04:44 PM »
A good point.  I merely think the greater web presence will forget about her but yeah, you are right there. I have found some of my earliest fiction still floating around and that is over fifteen years old.  Scary thought...

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2011, 06:08:17 PM »
Ah.. but your actions remain on the net no matter what.. I can find my first fanfiction no matter what. Checking certain sites shows every address I've had in the last 17 years.

Every prospective employer who uses Google to search applicants for jobs will find it as will any professional organization and school she applies to.  Forever.  Forever!  FOREVER!  Until the internet dies.

I would never hire her and neither would anyone in charge at my company. 

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2011, 06:10:09 PM »
And that's part of the price she has to be willing to pay for her beliefs, just like anyone who does something like she did and had it become so public.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2011, 06:14:59 PM »
The thing is that if she had made a statement to the effect that her remark, while it expressed her opinion accurately, could have been phrased more respectfully and that she was wrong to misrepresent how it mwas made in her Tweet, she'd actually look good.  Now she's just a joke and whatever her beliefs are it's not worth it to say the governor blows.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Should teen tweeter apologize?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2011, 06:48:55 PM »
Every prospective employer who uses Google to search applicants for jobs will find it as will any professional organization and school she applies to.  Forever.  Forever!  FOREVER!  Until the internet dies.

I would never hire her and neither would anyone in charge at my company.

While you've every right to set your hiring standards, BM, this sort of comment unnerves me, because it sounds very much like the way people with criminal records are treated in the professional world. Far too often, simply having any sort of criminal history, no matter how minor, is an automatic rejection on a job application. That's a topic that deserves its own thread,  but my point is that speaking out, no matter how rudely or crudely or disrespectfully, should never be a criminal act, socially or legally.