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He Scored a Date, But Will He Be Allowed to Attend Prom?

A Shelton High student is being punished for his creative prom proposal.

A student won't be allowed at this year's prom because of the way he asked out his date, the Hartford Courant reports.

Instead of the traditional conversation, James Tate chose to tape the message "Sonali Rodgrigues, will you go to prom with me?" outside the main entrance of the school, which put him in hot water with the administration.

He and the two friends who helped him tape up the letters have been given a one-day in-house suspension by headmaster Beth Smith, and barred from the prom.

However, there is an outpouring of support for Tate. A Facebook page "Let James Tate Go to the Prom" already has more than 400 members, with people commenting that not allowing him to go to prom is a "suppression of creativity."

"Asking a girl to prom in a very creative way is NOT a reason to ban him from prom," writes Pattie Cerbone Tencza.

No word yet whether the school administration will reverse their decision. Stick with Patch for updates.

Patty N May 12, 2011 at 01:40 AM
I will be posting this on facebook. The more people support this young man , the better he stands a chance of going to the prom with his date. The voices of many make a difference :)
Renae Schroeder May 12, 2011 at 02:29 AM
If this is a Public School he was not trespassing-the school grounds are public property. He did not break into the building. I think they way he asked her was very sweet. I think the adminstration has lost sight of who are the bad kids and who are not. What Tate did does not warrant suspension in our school system. I am quite sure our administration would have taken pictures of it for the school newsletter. The headmaster at Shelton probably was never asked to Prom so therefore feels the need to take his/her frustration out on good kids. Tate did not damage the building in any way. The words could easily be removed if they offended adults that have lost sight of a little romantic gesture. I am so glad my child does not attend a prison like Shelton. Really??? Does the Adminstration at Shelton not have anything better to do with their time? Surely you have issues that really need your attention. LET THE POOR BOY GO TO PROM!!! Do not take away this wonderful moment in a child's life!!! You are very sad excuses for school authority, I feel very sorry for you:(
Karen Meyers May 12, 2011 at 02:34 AM
If the Head Master does not let this kid go to the Prom I think all the parents and the community should get together and have the Prom somewhere else. Call on companies to help move the Prom to another place. Does anyway know the owner of a nice banquet hall???? It would be worth paying money again just to prove our point. No harm has been done. I think the Head Master title went to you head........
John E May 12, 2011 at 03:08 AM
In addition to contact the high school administration in protest, I'd recommend also writing to the Shelton Public Schools' Board of Education members. You can send emails to them directly through http://www.sheltonpublicschools.org/subsite/dist/directory. A example of such a note to board of education members: The decision to suspend James Tate and to ban him and his friends from attending the school prom was ill-conceived and overly dogmatic. The action from Headmaster Smith demonstrates nothing but her extreme inability to discern between an authentic problem and a creative and fun expression by a student who was excited about asking a friend on a date. By its formal action, the leadership at Shelton has missed the opportunity to model for young people a positive example of how to think through and enact wise and flexible decisions and responsible adult action. I hope that you will do your part as a member of the board of education to both reinstate Mr. Tate's and his friends’ ability to attend the prom and to appropriately discipline Dr. Smith for her unwise and irresponsible actions.
Joe Mandello May 12, 2011 at 03:55 AM
This is what is wrong with our public schools.
Rev. Vicki Nicholson May 12, 2011 at 06:34 AM
Let him go to the prom!!!!! He came up with a very creative way to ask the girl for a date, it did NOT harm anyone or anything. It was tape that can (and did, I'm sure) easily come off the building. Why the in-school suspension? There was no reason for it. Leave him alone and spend your time going after the REAL troublemakers in your school instead of this sweet young man. This is only one of MANY reasons why our schools are in the condition they're in nowadays. The establishment needs DESPERATELY to get their heads out of their asses and run the schools properly. THINK PEOPLE, THINK! Use the brains God gave you for something other than to collect dust! Take some lessons for the "old" days. Schools were run much better when I was attending ( and that wasn't THAT long ago) and more kids went on to college then do now. You can't keep putting the entire blame on the parents. The teachers, staff & principals have GOT to start accepting their part of the blame. Get with it!!! Quit picking on a nice kid and let him attend the prom with his date! SHEEESH!!!
lauren beaudry May 12, 2011 at 10:08 PM
~ms. beth smith ....you need to see a therapist as quickly as you can be seen....you have serious issues beyond the taping of words to a building....you look uptight and your speech is very pressured....to pick on a nice kid like this....how do you sleep at night knowing you are not supporting one of your student who really did nothing wrong...~GO AFTER THE BULLIES AND THE TROUBLEMAKERS....YOU ARE A SAD EXCUSE FOR A HEADMASTER..AND HOPEFULLY YOUR BOSSES AND THE PARENTS WILL BE WATCHING YOUR FUTURE ACTIONS, AS EVERYONE ELSE IS NOW.....THERE'S STILL TIME TO TRY TO REDEEM YOURSELF AND DO THE RIGHT THING~
Laurie Singer Russo May 12, 2011 at 10:27 PM
I sent an email to Dr. Smith just now. I don't think she'll change her mind, but the image of her school is now tarnished. Too bad for all involved.
kathy May 12, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Where is the common sense in this?
Cal Lewandowski May 13, 2011 at 12:39 AM
At first I too thought this student had done something "outrageous" to secure this punishment - but he taped signs to a door or window? Hello??? He's being inventive and creative, not destructive or violent. It's not like he did annoying graffiti or burned down a chem lab. The female admin with the PhD is a control freak jerk adminitard. Let the guy go to the prom. Do not rob this student of a "rite of passage" just because you think your PhD is soooooooo important. And we wonder why some of our youth have "anger management issues." I'd be p&^%ed at this admin, you bet!!!
MIKE ALFORD May 13, 2011 at 12:42 AM
MRS. Beth ---- Needs TO Quit !!!
linda crane May 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Where is the obscene language? These kids taped up letters on a brick wall!! Are you kidding me? Someone needs to get some spray paint and give these pathetic people a real message!
NOT SAYING May 13, 2011 at 02:06 AM
This is CRAP. Im a freshmen in highschool and I was sitting in class one day with my head down and some girl tapped on my shoulder aNd when I looked up she punched me in the face then another girl jumped in. The one girl got 5 days of suspension, the other got nothing not even detention, and I got 3 days! This p0or kid tried to be a gentlemen and he gets banned from prom?! This is just rediculous. You get punished for this? Its not like he used spray paint, that I could understand being angry!
Dennis May 13, 2011 at 08:15 AM
There should be ZERO tolerance for people who blatantly enforce a ZERO tolerance policy, fire the administrator!!
John May 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM
One never call this woman Mrs, that is a terrible slam to a Dr. especially a woman. This is just another example of the out of touch public school systems across the nation. They have thrown logic and common sense out the window just to show their authority, which in reality never really deals with those who need to be disciplined. It is for reasons like this that public schools and the administrations, teachers and teacher's unions will fight VOUCHERS! If vouchers are ever allowed our inept public schools would be in big trouble.
steffany May 13, 2011 at 01:02 PM
i kow what ur saying im a junior in high school two girls got in a fight and one girl got nothing the other 2 days of in-school i had my cell phone out and i got suspended!! school rules are stupid and sometimes very unfair.this boy should be able to go to prom.this lady needs to lay off the sauce haha and another thing everybody is against it but her shes gunna be very hated by that town let the bo go to prom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Robert Charles Naranda May 13, 2011 at 01:23 PM
You can bring a gun into an inner city school and get 10 day suspension and all kinds of counseling, and still be allowed to go to the prom. Unfortunately, the good kids that get the sever punishment. I would bet you Dr. Mrs. would not dish out the same to a minority.
Lisa H May 13, 2011 at 01:53 PM
This is so ridiculous. What he did was cute and creative. This new way of "zero tolerance" has once again gotten out of hand. He is a good kid and is being punished for it. Schools need to take each incident and look at it individually instead of lumping everything together. You have to look at the student's motivation, not simply with the "it's against the rules" type of mentality.
nichelle May 13, 2011 at 03:35 PM
I think he should go, he didnt do anything wrong. i think that was a sweet way for him to ask his date out.. if you was him what would you do. She needs to step back an get a life. So what if he did that. Let him go!!!!!!!
marylandbob May 13, 2011 at 06:46 PM
I think ALL the students should make paper signs stating: "Dr, Smith is Unfair" and sign them, and attach them to the school with tape, in a manner similar to that done by James Tate. FORCE her to suspend and ban EVERYBODY! THAT should get some action on this ridiculous issue!
Leo Pallanck May 13, 2011 at 06:53 PM
I agree with Dr. Smith but she didn't go far enough. She should also have seen to it that they cut OFF HIS HANDS for putting a removable sign on school property. His 2 friends should have there legs cut off for helping Mr. Tate. "OR", why not just put them up to a firing squad and shoot all three of these wonderful children. "OR" better yet why not shoot Dr. Smith, I am for the last one. beyound that, aren't schools considered Public schools and are not privet property as Dr. Smith says he violated. If thats so, he didn't break any laws. Dr. smith broke the law for crimes of common stupidety on her part. Leo Pallanck
Renee May 13, 2011 at 10:09 PM
I think their action is going too far. He and his friend were given punishment of inside suspension for the incident... did they spray painted on the school property? I feel they took a tasteful choice for graffiti ... if you want to call it that...this is something that is easily removed.
Kristi May 13, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Personally, being a high-school student myself, I think this whole ordeal is RIDICULOUS. It's rare for a boy to even get that creative, let alone get the courage to get his friends to help and do it in front of the entire public eye. It wasn't permanent,profanity wasn't used, personal information was not exposed, and I'm sure everything was taken down within hours of being put up. Really though folks, let him go to prom. It's truly no harm done.
Sue May 13, 2011 at 11:07 PM
As a former teacher and administrator, there are so, so many things kids do today that are really terrible. This was fun, cute and there was no harm done. Let him go to the prom. Some of the rules today are utterly ridiculous. Zero-tolerance needs to be readdressed; there are too many examples that are worthless.
marylandbob May 13, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Supposedly, the school"Headmaster/Headmistress", Dr. Beth Smith was so concerned about the POSSIBILITY of someone gettin killed or injured by an accident while using a ladder to attach the letters, that she SUSPENDED them as punishment! How much of her CONCERN would apply if they became despondent, and COMMITTED SUICIDE because of this? I have heard of suicide related to prom banning, but I have NOT heard of serious injury from any student afixing letters to a shhool wall, while wearing a helmet, on a ladder, helped by 2 friends!--Heck, kids get injured, even killed, participating in school sanctioned football games and other events. Where is the HISTORY to support her concerns??-Reprimand them, assign detention, yes, but I feel she abused and over-extended her authority!--Yes, we all have rules and laws, but having one does NOT mean it is CORRECT or JUST-Remember when it was ILLEGAL for womenbto vote? --- It was ILLEGAL for black/afro-americans to sit wherever there was a seat on buses?---It was ILLEGAL to sell merchandise on Sunday?--It was ILLEGAL to date, or marry,nif one partner was white, and the other was black?---It was LEGAL to own and sell slaves?? -- It was LEGAL to shoot and kill horse thieves?--It was LEGAL for school teachers and principals/headmasters to spankband/or whip bstudents with belts, paddles, and switches?-Laws and rules have frequently been changed! Change would not happen, if they were always correct!
Jo Ann May 14, 2011 at 10:45 PM
As James Tate said in an interview "she (Sonali Rodgrigues) is my best female friend, and she does not get a lot of attention'. Does that sound like the words of a 'smitten' young man doing something romantic. I think not. This was a high school prank that backfired on James Tate when it caught the attention of the media. Go to the prom and complete the 'prank' but remember James Tate, the eyes of the media are upon you.
ROBYN CLOKE May 14, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Wow, Jo Ann! Who are you to judge James' heart? You sound even colder than witch Smith!!
Jeannette Black May 15, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Wow, I was sure happy when they decided to let him go to the Prom. James was not hurting anyone, he was doing something for a very special person in his life. God Bless him and his date, I am so happy to see that there are still you people out there that can still come up with unique ways with no harm in mind. If he were my grandson I would say, Go Get the girl James.
Ironboar May 15, 2011 at 09:25 AM
Reason, compassion and sanity have prevailed.
Candi May 16, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I could not believe what I was reading when I read this article! Schools are suppose to build you up, not tear you down! Teenagers have enough stress and peer pressure to worry about without having to worry about little innocent things as this! I'm sure this school had some hand in this young man's creativity so you should be proud, not whatever you were when you suspended him and his friend and then decided to not let them go to prom! Seriously, let these young people go to their prom and commend him for such thoughtfulness and kindness for the way he asked a girl to the prom. There was no harm done at all except by you making him feel no telling what! Honestly you should worry about all the others that start and cause trouble or threat to the school!!!!!

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