Brownback’s thin skin

When a governor and his staff has been reduced to complaining about random tweets from teenagers, it’s time for them to reevaluate their priorities. (thanks to several alert readers for the heads-up)

A Kansas teenager is in trouble after mocking Gov. Sam Brownback during a mock legislative assembly for high school students.

Emma Sullivan, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, was in Topeka on Monday as part of Kansas Youth in Government, a program for students interested in politics and government.

During the session, in which Brownback addressed the group, Sullivan posted on her personal Twitter page: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot”

Now, a teenaged student is, of course, allowed to tell a governor he “sucks.” She’s also allowed to tell others that she told the governor he “sucks.”

But Brownback has his staff monitoring social media, and was so offended by the random tweet that the governor’s office contacted event organizers about it. The teenager was then told by her principal that she would have to write letters of apology to Brownback, the school’s Youth in Government sponsor, the district’s social studies coordinator and others.

Keep in mind, we’re talking about a high-school student with just 60 followers on Twitter. It’s a personal account, unaffiliated with the school or school programs, and didn’t even use the student’s full name. The tweet was written among other messages about “Twilight” and Justin Bieber’s holiday album.

Why on earth would a governor’s office care?

If the student had said something threatening, sure, take it seriously. If she’d raised the prospect of violence, it makes sense to take it seriously.

But this makes it sound as if Brownback and his team have such thin skins, that they take random, largely-unseen, mildly-snarky tweets from teenagers as worth their time. That’s just sad.