Last week, high-school senior Emma Sullivan was ordered by her school to apologize to Kansas governor Sam Brownback after Brownback's office complained about a disparaging tweet she had written about him. Sullivan rightly refused, and now Brownback is the one apologizing for his staff's bizarre response to a random teen's unflattering tweet:
"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."
The school has backed down as well:
"[D]istrict officials" in Shawnee Mission reviewed the case and asserted Monday that no apology was required and that no "further action" is expected on the issue.
"The district acknowledges a student's right to freedom of speech and expression is constitutionally protected," the district said in its statement. "The district has not censored Miss Sullivan nor infringed upon her freedom a speech."
The district, utilizing an increasingly trite phrase, added, "The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media." So many teachable moments, for all of us! But the main lesson is this: Everyone needs to chill out.