Kansas Teen Shouldn't Be the One Apologizing for Explosive Twitter Rant

Emma Sullivan TwitterIt's time to write the name Emma Sullivan on my list of teenagers I would be totally jazzed to see my kid act like. Today's the day the 18-year-old was supposed to officially apologize to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback for tweeting about him. Word has it that apology is not coming.

Wahoo! Let's hear it for teenagers doing something more important than sitting on their collective butts chomping Cheez Doodles and watching Jersey Shore! Now get ready for your own lecture.


This whole issue is in the national news right now because of Emma Sullivan, but this isn't just about one teenager. This is about the way adults treat kids. We encourage them to "get involved" and "speak up" and "be the change you want to see in the world." But when they actually listen, we piss our pants and begin beating the "our teens are going to wreck the planet" drum yet again.

Emma Sullivan was on a Kansas Youth in Government field trip to the state Capitol when she tweeted, "Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot." She didn't actually say anything to Brownback's face, but one of the governor's flunkies contacted her school to tell on her anyway. The school pulled the classic, "OMG, damage control, must make important politician happy" stunt. They recommended Sullivan apologize. Because nothing screams "youth in government" like telling kids they should keep their traps shut, huh?

For the rest of the kids in America, the conversation goes something like this:

Adults: "Hey kids, give your thumbs a rest, put down that smartphone, and listen up! We want you to use your words."

Kids: "OK, sooooo, we have been wanting to talk to you about X. Here, let me show you my blog about it on the Internet. I really think we can get some traction if we start using social media to spread the word."

Adults: "Oh God. No, I mean, we can talk about anything but X. Where are those damn cellphones? Text my little darlings, text, text, text away. Can I interest you in an Xbox 360? A PS3? How about a car to shut you up?"

Here's why we need teens like Emma Sullivan to tell Governor Sam Brownback to shove it up his you-know-what: because adults are too scared to do it. And if we're not careful, our kids are going to end up just like us.

What part of Emma's story are you going to use to talk to your kids?


Image via Twitter

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