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Teen Girl Defiant Against GOP Governor Brownback: Here Are 5 More Stories of Badass Kids Standing Up to Right-Wingers

A high school girl insults Governor Brownback and stands up to those who would punish her. Here are other examples of America's youngest citizens speaking truth to power.
 
 
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The infamous anti-Brownback tweet which received an undue backlash from the Governor`s office.
Photo Credit: Twitter/Screenshot

 
 
 
 

This weekend, the Twittersphere exploded with the not-so-delicately-phrased hashtag " heblowsalot" directed at Kansas Governor Sam Brownback--all thanks to his disproportionate crackdown on an outspoken teenager.

You see, this tweeted insult had been coined by a Kansas teenager--applied to her Governor, who is famous beyond Kansas's borders mostly for his draconian oposition to abortions even in the cases of rape and incest, but he had irked young Emma Sullivan due to his opposition to arts funding.

Sullivan, was on a school trip, joking with her friends about the Governor, when she decided to tweet the following inside joke: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.”

But apparently, unbeknownst to Sullivan, who had only 60 Twitter followers at the time, the governor's creepily over-involved staff made a "routine" search for the Governor's name on Twitter, found Sullivan's tweet, and promptly told her school's principal. 

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.

Her principal then took it upon himself to sit her down and demand that she apologize.
 
But once the incident went public, Sullivan found herself an unlikely Twitter heroine--retweeted hundreds of times, with 8,000 new followers and the invention of the hashtag "heblowsalot" to her credit, a hashtag that went viral, attracting some of Twitter's biggest names and the widespread suggestion that Kansas residents report their governor for bullying.
 
Unfortunately for the Brownback team, once Sullivan realized how much public support she had--oh, and the legal right to use free speech to criticize him without repercussions-- she decided not to comply with her school's request and apologize. She tweeted:

emmakate988 I've decided not to write the letter but I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard!  #goingstrong

Eventually, it was the Governor who apologized, releasing the statement, "My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that, I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms."

 

Indeed it is, and yet Sullivan is far from the first young person to face blowback for exercising that freedom at an early age. High schoolers around the country have stood up to unfair rules, laws and discrimination for decades, and young college students are at the forefront of the Occupy movement.

 

Here are a few more examples of America's youngest citizens speaking truth to power in what is widely considered one of the most hostile of climates in the universe: the hallways and classrooms of high school.

 

Standing Up to  Say Gay:

 

Constance McMillen became an LGBT heroine during her senior year in high school for quietly insisting that she be able to go to her Mississippi prom with her girlfriend, leading her school to actually cancel the prom out of the fear that she'd attend. Later, parents organized a secret prom and didn't invite her. The story became a national scandal and as it raged McMillen spoke out, saying she felt sorry that there was no prom, but she had no regrets for sticking her ground. She got plaudits from Ellen DeGeneres, Wanda Sykes, GLAAD and even Perez Hilton for her courage.

 

Others have spoken out in local fights. Earlier this year, Tennessee students began to organize against the poisonous "Don't Say Gay" measure which would prohibit school curricula from addressing homosexuality (the bill is still making its way through the legislative process). Many of them left school for a day to rally for acceptance, love and against legislation that they felt would enable bullying, including one young man named David Gilmore. From the Tenessean:

 
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