SHELTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Connecticut high school student who taped a message asking a girl to go to the prom with him has been barred from attending.

Shelton High School senior James Tate and two friends posted 12-inch tall cardboard letters outside the school’s main entrance, where everyone would see them going in last Friday morning.

The message said: “Sonali Rodrigues, Will you go to the prom with me? HMU -Tate.” HMU means hit me up, or call me.

Rodrigues said yes. But Tate and his two friends have been given one-day in-house suspensions by the headmaster and barred from the prom.

Tate told The Connecticut Post newspaper he was told posting the message constituted trespassing and posed a safety risk.

Headmaster Beth Smith did not immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking comment.

SOUND-OFF: Do You Think The Punishment Is Fair?  Let Us Know In The Comments Section Below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (72)
  1. Zermamayozy says:

    Значит, меньше шансов сохранить здоровье и попасть востоке лучшее свидетельство важности вопроса регионального девочки, за 4 дня я похудела на 4 кг! Вам просто полюбить полезно плавание если нет противопоказаний, например морщинка уменьшает ее шансы на брак. Иерусалиме, Хайфе и Тель-Авиве сказал:Выкинь пожайлуста, на что юноша как-то странно ответил на своем языкеи сильно его включают в список суперпродуктов для здоровья и молодости.
    Как правильно похудеть после родов

  2. BFS says:

    If these were painted letters, it would be an entirely different story. Cardboard letters, this is what students do. No property damaged, no foul. That’s nutty that they would actually bar someone from attending prom for this…

  3. Tami Stainfield says:

    The first time I heard the word “headmaster” was when I lived in South Africa, very interesting. Maybe this is why children have a growing since of hate and despair towards authority in America. This young man offered many solutions to demonstrate his accountability and willingness to comprise; thus I ask the headmaster what is your intent –in my opinion your actions demonstrates a psychological need for power that is irrational. Written by Tami Stainfield

  4. Eric B says:

    Head Mistress ineeds a phychiatrist. no harm done, no damage done. Just a nasty old prude in charge.

  5. Tom says:

    This is a racist act against the white-man. However, this is school property, not student property. He should have asked for permission. If school rules indicate suspension= no prom, then those are the rules. Probably established due to all the bad kids that also didnt ask for permission. Suck it up and take her on a nice date elsewhere…. He can have the company of his 2 friends and their dates. I bet they will have a blast on their own!!!

  6. Ann says:

    The headmaster is nuts, he hasn’t hurt anyone. Nothing was destroyed. It is a cute teenage moment. Get rid of this headmaster. .

    1. Carl says:

      I agree get rid of the headmaster ASAP! There is no property damage here and no harm has been done to anyone. The punishment far exceeds the offense. What offense? This is absolutely ridiculous get rid of the headmaster now!

  7. janet says:

    How cute, sweet and romantic. I hope they relent and let him go to his last prom. The punishment is over the top for the offense. Let him go!!!

  8. S J McMurray, III says:

    Headmaster: You want to run a tight ship, I’m sure; however, this was over-reaction to a fairly creative attempt by a pretty typical teen, maybe to overcome his shyness.

  9. Liz says:

    That was cute and creative. He’s a teen. When else can you do silly and/or reckless things like trespass on school to put up a love inspiring note?!!! And besides, I bet the headmaster would like her husband/boyfriend/whatever to do something surprising and sweet and over the top like that. maybe Beth Smith is just jealous hahaha. Suspend them for one day and get over it. LET THEM GO TO PROM!!!!!!

  10. cecelia says:

    Beth Smith you need to get with it. This young man is a kid who wants badly to have a prom date to remember. A harmless one time thing for this young man. Your more then a prude and you have a stick up your , you know what. He was suspened now let it go.

  11. Steve says:

    if it was a gay guy asking another gay guy to go to the prom, the school would of published this on the news to say what a wonderful school they are to allow such things.

  12. Diana says:

    My letter to Dr. Smith:

    Dr. Smith,

    I have read the article in which a senior was punished for his “trespassing” of school grounds.

    The year before I graduated high school, our school was defaced, vandalized and robbed. This was done by our own graduating seniors. This comprised trespassing, vandalism and a punishable crime. (1995, De Paul, Wayne , NJ)

    However, the current situation that has been presented in which a young boy has put his heart on the line to ask a girl to prom, should not be punished as they type of crime I described above. Were you not a girl of that age once? How impressed and special would you have felt if a young gentleman did this for you? The boy did not vandalize or destroy school property, he merely, taped cardboard up on the school building. Do we not do the same thing inside the hallways with posters rooting for teams or for school elections?

    I ask that you allow him to go the prom. Allow him to take the lucky girl as his date. We should reward his romanticism in a time where it does not exist anymore. If more boys/gentleman were like that, our world may be a better place.

  13. Carl says:

    I remember rules about signs in my old high school (such as do not cover lights, clocks, vents) and I am sure they will continue to apply when students are in a celebratory mood. I recently drove by a prom-date request posted at a tavern.

  14. M.A.D says:

    Headmaster Beth Smith did not have a prom date so she is getting revenge.

  15. John Prewett says:

    I was thinking the kid must have posted something hateful. Hey, let him go to prom and clean up the sign in a day or so. .

  16. trevor duhn says:

    hes a good kid, SHS really blew this out of proportion like always, they are so unreasonable with their decisions, james tate is the last kid that deserves this punishment for a hardly affective thing that he did, SHS doesn’t know half the time on what to think or do, lets go TEAMTATE

  17. Allie Johnson says:

    Give me a break. There was nothing malicious about t, his. Iust a kid who thought this was a good and unusual way to get a prom date. Don’t punish him after 12 years of hard work. Let the kid go to the prom.

    1. Bored says:

      He’s not a child; at 18 he ought to have some common sense, and know this was not his property. Frankly, the entire idea of “proms” or promenades, modeled idiotically on debutante balls, is stupid, anachronistic, and anti-feminist. It costs a great deal of money — for what? Ugly costumes, STDs, and drunken car crashes?,

      1. jtorres says:

        So you don’t want to go to the prom. So what? They do. He didn’t do anything wrong. He probably had a huge crush on this girl and wanted everyone to know. I think it’s romantic. They were cardboard letters attached with tape and they were on the outside of the school. How does that constitute trespass? And criminal to boot. Sounds like sour grapes to me. You too Bored… you not get asked to the prom?

      2. Tammy says:


        Lemme guess: they wouldn’t let you take your sister to the prom?

      3. Terri says:

        Sounds like you didn’t get asked to go! Holding a bit of a grudge are we?

      4. Seriously?! says:

        Clearly no one asked you to the prom therefore you’re bitter! They are a fun and celebratory event for the upper class men as they move on to bigger and better things. Not everyone makes stupid decisions afterwards. Stop being BORING and enjoy life a little!

      5. URAKILLJOY says:

        Thanks Debbie Downer?

      6. Bored says:

        To all of you I say: HARRUMPH!

        I didn’t go to my prom because of my chronic loud flatulence.

  18. Student says:

    the letters were TAPED on, is was paper taped on a brick wall. hardly “graffiti”

    1. Trish says:

      Spanish is a Language. He is Not Hispanic.

  19. Bell Toller says:

    Grafitti is a crime. Why wasn’t he arrested.

    He seems like everyone is making this out to be racial

    1. Mezo says:

      Bell Toller said:
      Grafitti is a crime. Why wasn’t he arrested.

      So is misspelling, Ding-a-ling.

      FYI: That fact is readily evident upon use of a ( say it with me now) dictionary, which also provides the actual definition of graffitti.

      1. URAKILLJOY says:

        Uh…… Spelling a word incorrectly is *NOT* a crime. But thanks for playing.

      2. sjtcc says:

        Fun fact, you’re both wrong! It’s g-r-a-f-f-i-t-i. Two “f”s, one “t.”
        But yes, Mezo is right — it wasn’t graffiti. The poor boy shouldn’t be arrested, nor should he even have been banned from attending prom.
        Unfortunately, I had a friend who was also banned from prom because she was suspended after the cut-off date. It was very controversial (i..e., whether or not the issue was suspension-worthy or not to begin with), and a good number of students tried to fight for her or talk to administrators. It didn’t work. I hope Tate’s fortune changes and that his suspension is lifted, or else reconsidered.

  20. TRL says:

    This was creative, sweet and harmless. It is something we could have more of across the world this days. In house suspension AND not being able to go to the prom is outrageous.

  21. flea says:

    The principal should lighten-up……….and what is this headmaster baloney? she’s the “principal”. it’s a high school, not a boarding school.

  22. Anubis says:

    ithink the headmaster is correct.first of all there are many different creative ways to go and ask someone to a prom.what this person did was deface school property and should be punished.this is actually a felony to the people who agree he should go.and if the headmaster determines the prom is out of the question then so be it.i would have also called the cops and pressed charges on top of all that

    1. ennis says:

      BoooOO! it was card boatrd and tape! Calm down

      1. Anubis says:

        Cardboard or no, what if this inspires other kids to be creative and use their imaginations? We’re doomed…DOOMED!

    2. Jersey Sal says:

      Gawd!!! Lighten up… I painted goal posts in high school. Today that’s a felony??? Make ’em take it down, give ’em a weeks detention and forget about it… IT WAS TAPE not spray paint!!!

    3. Allie Johnson says:

      He didn’t spray paint the wall. All he did was tape up a sign which is easily removed.

    4. jtorres says:

      Right, because inspiring kids to be creative and use their imaginations and being individuals is oh-so-dangerous. Why not just issue them grey jumpsuits and blindly follow along with whatever The Man says is correct. He didn’t “deface school property” You pull off the tape, good as new. You can’t press charges because it’s not even a violation, much less a felony. There was no permanent damage done.

  23. Starr says:

    They were just doing what they saw in the newest movie prom….. so what is the big deal, I think it’s nice that he wanted to ask her this way instead of the old way of just asking. it’s like a marriage proposal and I think there should be no punishment except to take down the letters.



  25. Mike Martin says:

    I like this kid’s creativity and boldness. I do not like him putting a janitor’s health at risk. If, on the other hand, this did not require a ladder to remove, then the penalty was excessive.

    For all you liberal dipsticks out there calling for leniency because “they’re just kids and this is not serious” – why don’t you let your daddy crawl up the ladder and risk falling to unmask the tape? Better yet, let’s let YOU do so.
    The problem in education is not so much content today as it is character. Kids demand their “rights” because parents have inculcated this lesson at home – of others, of course, all the while demanding the child listen to them and submit to their authority!
    It would not do to merely have the student remove the tape, for if he fell, the parents would be all over the principal.

    1. jtorres says:

      Hey Mike, if he and his friends were able to put it up, then they can use the same methods to take it down. It’s not rocket science.

  26. Joey says:

    People … easy way to go right to the source

    direct contact to this smith woman errr I mean devil …

    1. Allie Johnson says:

      Done! Reposting this link on my Facebook pages.

  27. jjjddd says:


    Self Righteous Old Bitties ruining others Peoples lives!

  28. Jeremy Ratliff says:

    This Smith lady is seriosly abusing her authority! The students at that school should go somewhere else on the evening of the prom……..boycott the school activity.

  29. jjjddd says:


    Let us hope and even Pray there is a Pink Slip in this Educators very near future!

    1. Allie Johnson says:

      Signing and posting on FB

  30. Jay says:

    The suspension should be enough! I agree with Carmen…there will never be another senior prom. If they would have gotten hurt, it would have been their fault. They knew the risk. I say no harm, no foul. But to discourage future behavior, maybe a 3 day out-of-school suspension. I say let them attend the prom!!

  31. Diane upper west side says:

    I think this beth smith or who ever is in charge of that school, i want to tell them or her get off your high horse darling. What possible harm did this act cause the school. It was cut out using PAPER!! it was not graffiti to the wall u idiots. which im i would of done right across your face and then maybe u could of charged me for a real crime jerks. have a heart those are children they work hard for there grade and deserve there prom. I say no its not fair i dont care what rule and regulation u came up with to band these children for there prom u are wrong!!

    1. Joe says:

      go ahead and tell her 🙂 pass the link around to anyone else you know who would also like to tell her how they feel 🙂

  32. Tim E. says:

    In this case the punishment doesn’t fit the infraction. It’s excessive.

  33. Tony says:

    I would give him a starter scholarship to a graphics & art school… His lettering and font is great, alignment is outstanding, sizing and perspective beyond par, Letter size in relation to the school letters, appropriate. I think he has a future in Signage and/or Advertising. Promote love and creativity.

  34. devoung says:

    safety risk for sure, a piece of 12 inch cardboard might fall off and cause brain damage if you’re hit, or someone might start a rumor that the sky is falling and start a stampede that might get somebody hurt, can’t be to careful these days, might get sued

  35. Rex says:

    Suspension and barring from the prom for THAT? There was no harm or damage caused, neither was the message threatening or offensive in any degree! The headmaster seriously needs to get over herself and realize kids will be kids. If it bothered her that much, all she had to do was take 90 seconds of her precious time and rip the tape down!!!

  36. Frank says:

    Next time someone does it, they fall off, school gets sued.

    Thats why.

    1. Chesley says:


      Exactly. A cardboard letter to the noggin can smart something awful.

    2. Carl says:

      You cannot sue the school if you fall off the ladder doing something the school did not request you to do. This act was done at one’s own risk. The school is protected from such frivolous suits. You would not get a dime from the school in this case.

      1. Actually you could sue the school. People file frivolous lawsuits all the time. You might not win but it’ll still cost the school to contest it. And that’s money that could go to books, extra programs, and (dare I say it) proms…

        That being said , it does seem like there could have been consequences without going his far…

  37. N says:

    Ridiculous, the punishment should fit the crime….no harm done. However, to deter further incidents have him clean up the mess & mop some floors.

  38. Carmen says:

    The suspension should be enough. He will never have another High School Prom.

  39. Claudeen says:

    Was’nt the Dean ever young once,Did she ever go to her prom? I see no harm.

  40. Derek says:

    What a shame that in this jaded cynical world, a sweet innocent gesture like this gets punished. Headmistress Smith really? No better way to handle this?

    1. Joey says:

      tell her how you think she should handle it 🙂

  41. karen says:

    If he spray-painted the building, yeah, it’s a problem. I think the suspension and inability to attend prom is overkill. Make him pick up trash for a week after school-that would be a deterrent.

  42. Bruno Schreck says:

    What is the damage? Are we afraid this will start a trend? Initiative, creativity and imagination should not be punished.

  43. christine says:

    seriously? ban from senior prom?!! the school is not being fair… they gave the kids a suspension..that’s enough punishment..

  44. Mark in Dover says:

    Headmistress Beth Smith is a prude!

    1. Linda says:

      I would hope that another High School would invite Tate and Sonali to their Prom. The “Headmaster” there could acknowledge that they don’t condone acts like this, but realize this young man used good judgement in the fact that he considered his options in asking the girl. He used the same things the school uses in their classrooms & hallways for school elections, games, and all other activities. Most schools are vandelized with paint and permanent damage. He has given sincere apologies, offered to remove the signs, and acknowledge that he shouldn’t have done this.

      The fact that he was trespassing? I thought public schools were actually public property, the residents pay their taxes towards the schools. I don’t see it a violation as trespassing, he didn’t enter the school. When my children were small, I use to take them to the school playground when the school was closed. I never thought this was trespassing.

      I’m hoping another school with a nicer Prom invites Tate his two friends and their dates to their Prom. I think he is an example of a decent Senior coming up with a creative harmless way of giving a romantic invitation.

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