Joined: 14 Jul 2011
On Nov. 21, high school senior Emma Sullivan tweeted:
Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person
Gov. Sam Brownback's office was all over Sullivan, calling her school, who in turn demanded she write an apology. Then social media and the news blew up with this story of the big, bad governor versus the little high schooler. The governor has since apologized for his office's reaction and the school has reversed its stand and won't be forcing her to apologize.
Here's the thing though: Sullivan didn't actually do what she said she did. While she was at the Kansas state capital that day, listening to Brownback speak, she didn't tell him he sucked or make mean comments to him in person. The tweet was, she has since said, a joke.
Looking at Sullivan's Twitter stream, she often writes tongue-in-cheek comments. No one would actually believe that she's really going to marry a character from Twilight, but when a tweet involves a real person, things get a little fuzzy.
Many people have come to Sullivan's defense, saying that her right to free speech needs to be protected. But does the fact that this tweet wasn't true matter? Should that change how we perceive this situation? Also, did the school's principal fail when he didn't immediately stand up for his student's free speech rights?
What's your take on this?