Governor Brownback’s Staff Twitter Overreaction Has Caused Cyberbullying

Last week, Kansas High School student Emma Sullivan used Twitter to discuss her feelings about Governor Sam Brownback. While participating in a Youth in Government Program Sullivan tweeted, “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.

Governor Brownback’s office was not amused by the Tweet and Niomi Burget, assistant director of scheduling for the governor forwarded the tweet to Deborah Brown of the Shawnee Mission School District who then contacted Sullivan’s principal. Sullivan was “asked” to write an apology to the governor but refused. Whether Sullivan was “asked” or “ordered” to write an apology to the governor is a question that needs to be answered since Sullivan was exercising her First Amendment right to criticize the governor.

Does Governor Brownback’s office spend a significant amount of time and public resources on social media monitoring? Does his office spend taxpayer dollars to deploy a social media monitoring service? Or, does his office spend taxpayer dollars to do Twitter searches on a regular basis? What type of resources does his office allocate to social media monitoring and how does it determine when to react?

I told the Associated Press that this incident reflects poorly on the governor’s office and that it needs to learn how to properly deal with social media related issues. It is disappointing that Governor Brownback’s office still has not properly put this issue to bed.

Sullivan is now being cyberbullied because Governor Brownback’s office did not understand how to respond to a negative tweet from a high school student. When Governor Brownback’s office is interested in learning how to properly resolve this matter he may contact me at 301-652-3600 or at

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at

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