Teen Tweeter Is No Hero
It's up to parents to insist on civil disagreement: Ruth Marcus
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2011 11:19 AM CST
Shown in her Fairway, Kan. home on Nov. 28, 2011, high school senior Emma Sullivan displays the text of a tweet she sent after listening to Gov. Sam Brownback speak to a group of students last week.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(Newser) – There's something wrong with a world in which Emma Sullivan, the 18-year-old high school student who refused to apologize to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback after tweeting that he "sucked," is turned into a "heroine of the liberal blogosphere," writes Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post—adding that Sullivan should be glad she's not Marcus' daughter, because Marcus would have made her apologize and taken away her smartphone. Sure, Sullivan has First Amendment rights, but "parents are not bound by constitutional constraints."

The Constitution, Marcus continues, "does not grant teenagers the fundamental right to have a cellphone or use foul language on it." And though her school may not be legally able to make Sullivan apologize, her principal can certainly explain why her behavior on a school trip reflects poorly on the school. As for Sullivan's parents, they're standing behind her, but they should be instilling "values of respect for authority—even those you disagree with—and the importance of civil discourse," Marcus writes. "The First Amendment focus confuses what can be constitutionally prohibited with what ought to be done."