Shelton HS Senior Banned From Prom: 'It Just Seems a Little Extreme'

James Tate thought he was being original in his prom proposal to a friend, but ended up in hot water with the Shelton High headmaster.

When a senior went out of his way to make a to a friend, he never thought it would result in his being banned from the annual dance event altogether.

But that's just what happened after James Tate and two friends took a ladder, some tape and a handful of cardboard letter cutouts to the outside wall of the school’s main entrance.

“It was just to show my friend a grand gesture and I was wanting to do something fun and original,” Tate told Patch.

Early Friday morning, around 1 a.m., Tate taped the question “Sonali Rodrigues, will you go to prom with me?” in hopes that the message would surprise his prospective date and be a neat talking point for the day.

The good: Rodrigues said 'Yes.' The bad: Tate’s prom hopes were crushed when gave him and the two friends one day of in-school suspension.

“School policy is that if you get an in-school after April 1, you can’t go to prom,” Tate said.

Smith was not immediately available for comment.

According to Tate, Smith justified the punishment by telling him that not only had he trespassed on school property, his actions also posed a safety risk.

“It’s not like we broke into the school or anything, though,” Tate said. “And I wore a helmet and brought friends along to hold the ladder and hand me the letters with tape on them.”

Tate said that when his headmaster gave her sentence, he tried to “air grievances and make a compromise with the administration” to no avail.

“I understand their reasoning that there needs to be consequences against me to avoid students one-upping in the future, but I offered to collect litter around the school and argued other options,” Tate said. “Give me a week of detention, but don’t give me an in-school suspension so that I can’t go to prom. It just seems a little extreme.”

Tate said that he is upset. “I feel like a jerk for getting my friends in trouble and for screwing Sonali out of a date," he said.

Tate said Rodrigues will still attend prom, but with a girlfriend rather than him.

As for the outpouring of support for him on Facebook, Tate said he feels grateful to have so many people on his side, “but maybe it’s too little too late.”

Someone, Tate doesn’t know who, took to the social media site and created a “Let James Tate Go to the Prom” page on Tuesday night, which gained more than 1,000 supporters in a matter of hours.

“I don’t know if Facebook could persuade them to change their decision,” he said. “Anybody on a social media site can rant and rave but if it holds value – I don’t really know.”

christopher May 17, 2011 at 03:10 PM
I for one do not critisize nor undermine Smith's integrity in "upholding protocol", however, I do not comprehend how her judgement influences one way or the other education environment as safe or unsafe. The fact we "the community" did not agree with her double punishment towards James it is simply an American freedom we in this country enjoy in which we are able to voice our opinions particularly when it comes to issues related to those on salaries financed by "us" the taxpayers.
tes May 18, 2011 at 05:04 AM
Honestly, The adminastrature needs to congradulate the kid for being so creative.It makes the head of the school look stupid, uncareing, and spiteful. While the teenager look like a careing, creative, and romantic teenager. Bet the girls really like him now. Schools leaders keep making themselves look like they are inmature and freak out so they set higher punishments. Is the head of the school asking for trouble? If you keep pushing kids for nothing they will rebel and then you have hell on your hands. By setting this boy as an example the younger teens will know about it and will see how much trouble they can get into by doing something alot worse. The kid did nothing wrong but the head of the school is WRONG! And should tell the teen they are sorry for acting the way they are.
Ronald Kruger May 19, 2011 at 02:08 AM
Am I the only person who think he got what he deserved? What if this kid fell off the ladder and broke his back or snapped his neck? What would Shelton be saying then. Mrs. Smith gave the right punishment. The school as a whole is liable. If this kid was such an all star what led him to do something obnoxious and obscene? Rules are in place for a reason. I don't mean to say that it's all 100% because look at some other poster on this thread talking about smoking weed and still going to the prom. I think this kid is making a mountain out of a molehill. Just bring your Girlfriend somewhere else. It's not the end of the world. I never attended any prom when I went to school because I was worried about school and learning I didn't always think with what's in between my pants. Use your brain and you would have realized it's not a good idea. Of course the media is going to glorify him and smear Mrs.Smith. SHS has had a lot of trouble recently I don't see why the rules shouldn't be extra tough. I'll say it again son you broke the rules and got banned. Now,please stop e-mailing me this!
bebe May 21, 2011 at 09:37 PM
the poor kid was just trying to do something different. he did absolutly nothing wrong!!!!
michael May 01, 2012 at 04:55 AM
these cops and persons put their judgement on others are emotionally weak...immature, and are not able to handle freedom. they are ugly.selfish and childish..they will not be in the kingdom of heaven and will not like the angels who put it to them/////hey all of you who judge, you are asking satan to take your souls...fools each and every one.


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