Shawnee Mission East High School students rally in support of principal in tweet controversy

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - The three major players in a controversy sparked by a teen's tweet about Kan. Gov. Sam Brownback have all received threatening messages.

The governor, Emma Sullivan – the girl who sent the tweet – and her principal all report threatening messages on social media.

Sullivan's principal at Shawnee Mission East High School, Karl Krawitz, confirmed to NBC Action News he has received a barrage of hate mail and threats.

After the Sullivan's tweet last week during a school trip to Topeka to hear the governor speak, Krawitz recommended the 18-year-old apologize to Brownback.

About 50 to 75 Shawnee Mission East students gathered Tuesday to support Krawitz.

People have really just turned this situation into something about first amendment rights and all this stuff. It's not about that," one female student said. "It's about being respectful. It's all just basically a misunderstanding."

NBC Action News obtained the emails exchanged between the governor's office, the Shawnee Mission School District and the principal .

The following is an excerpt from an email Krawitz sent to Niomi Burget of the governor's office:

"The governor should know we did not force any letter of apology. There were no threats if she did not – they were not even discussed. We did not take her phone, imposed any sanctions, suspend her from school, removed her from any activity - nothing – simply write a letter of apology. I am not a big fan of the governor, but I respect the person and the office. He may be used to this kind of negative mail (which is disgusting), however I am not. The hate mail I have received is a disgrace. I am not sure what will become of this issue – unfortunately, this will probably get ugly."

The students gathered Tuesday to support Krawitz because they were tired of seeing him portrayed as the villain. As stated in Krawitz's email, Sullivan was not disciplined by the school.

Sullivan released the following statement Tuesday regarding the threats made against Krawitz:

"I don't think Dr. K should be receiving any threats, though I still disagree with the way he handled the situation, we have spoken and put the issue at rest. There is no need for violence or hatred in an educational environment. I hope the students at Shawnee Mission East and my supporters will become more understanding of my situation."

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