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Emma Sullivan Receives Apology From Sam Brownback For 'Overreaction' To Tweet

First Posted: 11/28/11 02:15 PM ET Updated: 11/28/11 02:30 PM ET

Emma Sullivan Apology Sam Brownback Tweet

In an unexpected turn of events, the Kansas governor who was the subject of a disparaging tweet is apologizing to the teen who sent the message.

In a statement Monday, Gov. Sam Brownback acknowledged 18-year-old Emma Sullivan's rights:

"My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms. I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future. I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologize for our over-reaction."

Sullivan, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Kansas, was on a field trip to the state capitol last week and listened to a speech by Brownback. During Brownback's remarks, the teen tweeted, "Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot."

Brownback's office flagged the tweet and forwarded the information to the Youth in Government program and her school. Although Sullivan later admitted she didn't actually make the direct comment to the governor, her school principal Karl R. Krawitz demanded that she submit to Brownback a letter of apology. The governor also subsequently received hundreds of upset comments on his Thanksgiving Facebook message.

Although the teen initially agreed to write the letter to "get it out of the way" and not have more to handle amid her college applications, according to Yahoo! News, she later changed her mind and refused to submit the note, saying she "would do it again," the Associated Press reports.

The Shawnee Mission School District has also retracted its punishment for Sullivan.

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Filed by Emmeline Zhao  |