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The GEM Debate: Twitter Trouble; Was A Student Wrong For Tweeting THIS?

It’s not the first bit of trouble in the Twitter-verse and it won’t be the last. A faithful GEM reader alerted me to this story out of Kansas. A high school student, Emma Sullivan, was on a class field trip to the state capital where the kids had a chance to meet Governor Sam Brownback, who addressed the kids. Apparently it was a bit of a tough sell because following the meeting, Emma tweeted this:

Just made mean comments to gov Brownback and told him he sucked, in person.”

The lessons didn’t stop with the field trip. Soon after, Emma was called into the principal’s office where he asked her to apologize for the tweet, saying he had to do “damage control”. it seems that In a stunning display of thin-skinned-edness (made up word), a Brownback staffer saw the tweet and forwarded it to the school district where officials freaked enough that they felt that had to do something about it. The “it” was to try and squeeze an apology from the teenager. Ooooh-kay.

Look, Emma is a teen and as any parent knows, they can be a bit impulsive. Add to that this generation has been on the front lines of technology and you get an incident like this with a kid, saying then tweeting some stream of consciousness stuff. Parents and most people who work with kids, know the best way to handle stuff like this (which is essentially harmless) is to ignore it; it will eventually go away.

Not so now. It’s made headlines around the country and Brownback and his staffers look petty and petulant. Most of us would expect that from a teenager, not so much from an elected official.

I think they should have just ignored the tweet and the comment; if they had, this whole flippin’ thing would have been a non-issue. But now, like a pebble in pond water, there’s no telling where the concentric circles will end.

Okay, so let’s debate. You know how I feel, what about you? Was Emma wrong to tweet this? Was she wrong to say what she did to the governor? Did Brownback staffers and school officials handle this appropriately or was this an overreaction by sensitive people? Fire away!




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