Kansas Tweeter Being Attacked by Fellow Students

Kansas Tweeter Being Attacked by Fellow Students November 30, 2011

The school administration backed down and Gov. Brownback apologized for getting Emma Sullivan in trouble for exercising her free speech rights, but some of her fellow students are being first-class assholes about the whole thing.

A Twitter hashtag set up against her contains numerous expletives, including one user, @PoundShop_Zoe, who calls her a “whore” multiple times. “When Emma Comes back she should be forced to go to north #HopeYourHappy… Whore,” he writes.

“Get Emma Sullivan out of East [Shawnee Mission East High School] please #teamkrawitz,” adds @megmms.

In fact, students have organized a rally Tuesday afternoon in support of her principal, Karl Krawitz, and in opposition to her, said Sullivan.

They grow good little misogynist fascists in Shawnee Mission, apparently. But evidently the principal has also been receiving threats, which is even worse. Humans baffle me sometimes.

"Hah! Words. How the fuck do they work?"

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  • RW Ahrens


  • jamessweet

    I’m so fucking confused… I cannot possibly imagine, in my high school, people picking on someone for insulting a politician. WTF?!?!?

  • jamessweet

    Just realized that made it sound like I am still in high school. Nooooooo that was many, many years ago. Perhaps things were different in the early 90s than they are now? Or perhaps it’s Kansas vs. upstate New York?

    It’s just really… weird to me. I just can’t picture it. In my high school, the kids who would get picked on would be the ones who thought it was a big deal!

  • d cwilson


    That Brownback and Krawitz were exposed for the petty tyrannical fools that they are?

    Why yes. Yes, I am.

    Thanks for asking.

  • anteprepro

    So, let me get this straight:

    Tweet insulting governor: BAD!

    Governor and Principal forcing apology and self-censorship: Good.

    Students tweeting and organizing a rally against a fellow student: Also Good.

    Can we get some politician to demand apologies from these students lashing out at a fellow student for having political opinions? Or does mockery and/or venom over political issues, coming from teenagers, only deserve censoring when it is about a politician? Actually, nevermind, I know the answer.

    I’m sure the fact that Brownback himself apologized and noted that he was in the wrong will not stop The Youngest Young Republicans from working themselves into a froth over the issue while dreaming of lynch mobs and burnings at the stake.

  • eric

    I assume the two attacks are from different groups. Hard to imagine anyone so insane that they would simultaneously attack the student for what she said and attack the principal for demanding the student apologize. Its kind of a you-resent-one-or-the-other thing.

  • I really hope both Emma and the principal stand up to this nonsense. I know it’s easy for me to demand this from a safe distance, but I really think it’s important not to let oneself get pushed around by emotional reactions like this — especially since the students doing this probably aren’t really thinking anything through, just letting themselves get swept up in an unthinking craze. The worst possible lesson we can teach these kids, is to show that their tantrums can influence adult policy decisions. That will set their transitory emotions in concrete.

    We also need to find out if any adults are influencing this bullying campaign, and if any are, charge them with endangerment or some such.

  • Abby Normal

    Perhaps they’re intended to be pointers. As in, “You call that disrespectful? This is how to be disrespectful!”

  • ulgaa

    @eric Ever been in Kansas? Could be entirely possible.

    The kids here pretty much parrot the crap their parents spew out. The kind of state that the high school government classes have Fox news on the tv daily.

  • Chris from Europe


    There’s a little difference between insulting a powerful politician and a sizable group of students banding together to bully an outsider.

    They may have every right to voice their disapproval, but as we see they go beyond that. And the same goes for the people threatening the principal.

  • bbgunn

    Not surprising. The Shawnee Mission School District is located in Johnson County, KS which is saturated with conservative and reactionary types. That’s why you see Johnson County consistently supporting the likes of Brownback and Phil Kline.

  • Does anyone else find it funny when bullies show their stupidity within the bullying itself?


  • The school-based antagonism is worrying, but I wouldn’t bother with the Twitter stuff. Anytime you have tens of millions of anonymous commenters (like on any Yahoo news story) then you’re always going to be able to find examples of the most vile and abusive kind in any situation.

  • grumpyoldfart

    @ #2

    I’m so fucking confused… I cannot possibly imagine, in my high school, people picking on someone for insulting a politician. WTF?!?!?

    It’s just the mob mentality. They don’t care who it is, what the subject is, or who’s right, or who’s wrong. As long as they get a chance to dash in, kick someone in the guts, and get out again without being noticed – Hey, they’re a winner!

  • anteprepro

    There’s a little difference between insulting a powerful politician and a sizable group of students banding together to bully an outsider.

    Indeed. That’s part of my point. Insulting a politician is a regular political occurrence and is of little to no consequence, yet Brownback (and/or his staff) wanted to bully a teenage girl into giving up her voice in a show of just how powerful he is. This was something that should not have required an apology. Whereas, the students, who are just as powerful as Emma and who are not just insulting her online but are actively planning to have a large rally against her IRL, should be the most deserving of a demand to stop and apologize. Not the girl who insulted an adult politician on Twitter. Emma stood up to big, powerful adult bullies and is now going to have to pay price of that by having to deal with a fuckton of less powerful, but close-and-personal, bullies as well. I feel sorry for her, spiteful towards her unthinking peers, and appreciative of just how brave she is (since she may have actually seen this coming when refusing to apologize, knowing her school/town/state far better than I do). A very confusing affair.

  • anteprepro


    This was something that should not have required an apology

    Please note that I was referring to Emma’s insult not requiring apology. It could’ve been read as me saying that the merry gang of censoring administrators didn’t need to apologize, which is not at all true (from my perspective).

  • schism

    Humans baffle me sometimes.

    People default to tribalistic shit-tossers, essentially chimpanzees wearing clothes. That’s all you need to know to understand human behavior.

  • I imagine that the students attacking Sullivan are jealous of her limelight, however unintentionally earned, and also convinced that the school principal is someone who must be respected at all costs. They are probably big “school spirit” types who believe that their collective reputation has been tarnished by a student saying rude things about the governor and drawing negative attention to the school as a whole…even though it was actually the principal’s demand for a letter of apology that thrust this situation into the news in the first place.

    And they are incapable of recognizing that Krawitz might be a good principal who made a very bad decision, or that believing he’s a good principal doesn’t require saying that Sullivan is a whore who should be expelled. That requires a level of nuance that appears to be beyond the ken of most high school students.

  • whheydt

    Back when I was in high school (and when that was will be apparent in a moment), I carried books and papers around in a briefcase. During the presidential election campaign, I but a bumper sticker on the briefcase that said:

    Goldwater in ’64

    Hot Water in ’65

    Bread & Water in ’66

    This was in the San Diego area, which was then very conservative.

    No one said a word about it.

    –W. H. Heydt

    Old Used Programmer

  • cheesynougats

    I live in Johnson County, Kansas, and stating you are not with the ruling elite, no matter the reason, is worthy of ostracism. I think the reason comes somewhere between “school spirit” (a *huge* deal at SMEast) and support for our beloved governor. At least we got rid of Kline….

    Out here, you have a choice: You can be a conservative Protestant or Catholic, or if you don’t like that, you’re welcome to be an Objectivist.

  • Azkyroth

    I’m so fucking confused… I cannot possibly imagine, in my high school, people picking on someone for insulting a politician. WTF?!?!?

    She’s a woman expressing an opinion. The content and subject of that opinion are irrelevant.

  • If Brownhole wasn’t a complete fucking dick HE would go on television and apologize to Emma and tell those fucking clowns in her school to put a sock in it. I also would like a pony a Christmas.

  • But evidently the principal has also been receiving threats, which is even worse.

    How is that worse? I’m not saying that the principal getting threats is OK in any way, but really, if the choices are:

    1) teenage student gets threats for simply speaking her mind,

    2) grown man in position of authority gets threats for trying to abuse his authority,

    I don’t think it’s that hard to figure which one is worse.