SHELTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Connecticut high school has changed its mind about allowing a student to go to his senior prom.
Shelton High School student James Tate was barred from the end-of-year dance after a very public proposal to a classmate. After days of standing firm on the issue, the school announced a change of heart on Sunday.
“I’ve decided to implement alternative consequences on a case by case basis beginning with James Tate and for other students who received suspension after April 1st, which would then permit some to attend prom,” Dr. Beth Smith, headmaster at Shelton High School, said Saturday in a statement.
Tate nearly missed out on the big dance after he taped his invitation – made of 12” cardboard letters – to the outside wall of his school.
Many – including intended recipient Sonali Rodrigues, who said yes to Tate’s proposal – found the message romantic.
“If someone did that for me, I mean, that would be…amazing,” one student said.
The school, though, wasn’t in love with the gesture. It got Tate, and two friends who helped him, suspended – and booted from their prom.
“Students receiving an in-school or out-of-school suspension after April 1 for any reason would not be allowed to attend the prom,” Headmaster Smith said Thursday.
Tate’s plight went viral, and his story became a cause célèbre after it garnered national attention.
Two Connecticut lawmakers even said they were introducing legislation that would allow the Shelton high school teenager to attend his prom.
Republican State Reps. Jason Perillo of Shelton and Sean Williams of Waterbury said they were drafting an amendment that would force school officials to give parents an option of community service when a student is barred from a school event for a policy violation within the last month of the school year.
“Give the kid a break,” Perillo said. “It was cute. It was far more romantic and creative than anything I could ever come up with.”
After Saturday’s announcement, it seems like all of that attention made a difference.
“James Tate set a new level of romanticism that’ll be a challenge for all of us here, but we’re happy to put this behind us,” Schools Superintendent Freeman Burr said.
As for Tate, he didn’t seem to have many regrets – not about his own part, at least.
“I was proud of what I did, I think Sonali liked it,” he said. “The one thing, again, my friends got in trouble. If I were to do it again, I’d probably do it alone.”
Tate’s friends will get to go to the prom as well. Prom night for Shelton High School’s senior class is scheduled for June 4.
A Connecticut high school headmaster reversed her decision to ban a student from the prom after he broke school rules by hanging his prospective date’s invitation at the school entrance.
School administrators barred Shelton High School student James Tate from the June 4 dance after he asked a girl to prom by posting an invitation in big cardboard letters in the side of the school.
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