No time at the moment to tell my story on this topic (the punchline of the thing that got me in trouble starts, ” . . . or next to Christopher Columbus, the greatest New Dealer of all time . . .”).
This has creeped me out for a couple of days, and it’s just getting more bizarre.
So, with no sense of irony of the Orwellian nature of what they were doing, Brownback and his staff complained to the school of the girl about what she wrote — which, while stupidly offensive, was nothing major.
Plus, the Governor’s office asked the school to discipline the girl. Alas, the principal complied with the request. (When do teachers and administrators stand up for their students? Why not this time?)
Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said her office had forwarded a copy of Sullivan’s tweet to organizers of the school-sponsored event “so that they were aware what their students were saying in regards to the governor’s appearance.
Did the governor’s staff keep copies of all the Tweets they monitored? Did they suggest accolades for the kids who gushed over Brownback’s . . . positions on the issues?
Wholly apart from the obvious free speech issues, which could well be decided against the girl since various courts have ruled students park most of their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door (not religion, though), I was a little creeped out at someone professing to be an adult monitoring the teen’s Tweets for her friends.
What other teen aged girls is he monitoring? What part of Kansas law gives him that authority? Which borderline of “child abuse” or “stalking” did he really intend to walk?
Sam Brownback, stop stalking Kansas teenagers. It’s ugly, and creepy, and it reveals you to be small . . . and creepy.
(Yes, I know — it technically doesn’t fall under the Kansas stalking law. But Kansas stalking law didn’t anticipate cyber stalking, either. A version of the Kansas statute, below the fold.)
Fortunately, adults are involved, and there is adult action and counseling. Unfortunately, it’s the teen, Emma Sullivan, and her slightly older sister, who act like sober, wise adults (after the Tweet). Brownback needs to start acting his age, and position.
Ms. Sullivan refuses to apologize as ordered. More to come, surely.
Business and politics drift so slowly and amicably in Kansas that Brownback has time and thinks it worth the trouble to monitor Tweets from teenagers? There’s a bigger judgment issue here than Emma’s little lapse of it.
Section 21-3438. STALKING. 1996.
(a) Stalking is an intentional, malicious and repeated following or harassment of another person and making a credible threat with the intent to place such person in reasonable fear for such person’s safety. Stalking is a severity level 10, person felony.
(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) when there is a temporary restraining order or an injunction, or both, in effect prohibiting the behavior described in subsection (a) against the same person, is guilty of a severity level 9, person felony.
(c) Any person who has a second or subsequent conviction occurring against such person, within seven years of a prior conviction under subsection (a) involving the same victim, is guilty of a severity level 8, person felony.
(d) For the purposes of this section: (1) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose and which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the person. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.”
(2) “Harassment” means a knowing and intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.
(3) “Credible threat” means a verbal or written threat or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal or written statements and conduct made with the intent and the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for such person’s safety.
The present incarceration of a person making the threat shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section.
Legislative Update: Kansas’ protection from stalking act was signed into law on May 17, 2002. Under the act, a stalking victim may file a verified petition for a civil protection from stalking order. The parent or an adult residing with a minor may also seek relief on the child’s behalf. A protection from stalking order shall remain in effect for up to one year, and may be extended for an additional year if a continuing threat of stalking is shown. Knowingly or intentionally violating such an order is a class A person misdemeanor. Applicable definitions, procedural requirements, and the relief available are set out in the act. In addition, the act contains provisions prohibiting disclosure of the victim’s address and telephone number, and authorizing the issuance of ex parte, temporary orders, as well as allowing attorney fees to be awarded to the victim in any case in which a protection from stalking order is granted.