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Prom-Banning Administration Quiet; 'Team Tate' Loud [Video]

The Shelton school system has yet to respond to the James Tate prom proposal incident. Meanwhile, the senior student gains supporters across the nation.

The boy who was banned from the prom is the new social media darling.

In less than 24 hours, the Facebook group “Let James Tate Go to the Prom” ballooned from a modest 400 members to a staggering 37,000-plus, while on Twitter, #TeamTate and #JamesTate have become national trending topics.

Tate, a senior at Shelton High School, after a creative date proposal was deemed a violation of school rules by the administration.

But if Headmaster Dr. Beth Smith thought the incident would end there, she was mistaken. The story has gone viral, with people across the nation and even Scotland showing their support for Tate.

Locally, the campaign to reinstate is the talk of the town. At the high school, a group of students printed flyers that read “SEND TATE TO PROM” and handed them out in the hallways. Junior Nick Hearl taped one to his shirt and wore it to class because he said he feels the punishment is “ridiculous.”

Hearl said that school on Wednesday was “chaotic, but everyone is keeping cool waiting to see where it goes from here.”

He also said that teachers have not said anything about the incident that he knows of. When asked if he felt the administration was keeping tight-lipped in an attempt to keep students in check and quiet the buzz, he answered: “Probably.”

That sentiment was echoed by all of the students Patch interviewed. Of the at least 12 high-schoolers interviewed, not one had heard a word from their headmaster or teachers.

Superintendent of public schools Freeman Burr did send out a press release to the media Wednesday afternoon. It read: “In response to your recent inquiry, I am aware of the local, state and national media attention surrounding the situation and I have no further comments regarding the matter at this time.”

Smith could not be reached for comment. Receptionists at the high school’s main office said her voicemail inbox is currently filled, but they have no idea whether she has returned any of those calls.

John Rougeou from Alexandria, LA was one of thousands of readers who called the school to voice support for Tate.

“I called the superintendent’s office and they told me that they had gotten 18,000 phone calls from people,” Rougeou said. “I’m a former schoolteacher and I just wanted to tell them that this is stupid stuff. I appreciate what Patch and the media is doing for this young man.”

Students say the only response they’ve seen from administrators is punishment for anyone who tweets about Tate, the prom proposal and Dr. Smith.

“She’s going on Twitter and looking at all our stuff and printing it out and getting us in trouble,” said sophomore Toni Bartomeli. “Everyone’s getting in trouble for tweeting that Team Tate thing, the trend."

“Apparently teachers are making Twitters and following us on Twitter and, like, following what we’re saying. And someone got suspended for saying something about Dr. Smith on Facebook,” added fellow sophomore Brianna Slavin.

Of course, SHS has been no stranger to drama this past school year. A string of in October and November 2010 resulted in class disruptions on at least four different occasions. Many are arguing that Tate’s actions pale in comparison to these incidents.

“Look at all the bomb scares that happened! Those are the kids that deserve punishment,” said Kyle Ebdon, who graduated from SHS in 2007. “From what we know this is a good kid with no past problems.”

On Facebook, Kerry Rivelli posted the following message: “schools have kids that bring guns to school, start fights, post horrible and damaging things on the internet about each other, and this guy...decides to be a hopeless romantic, and gets punished!! Sorry the schoolmaster is wrong on this one. Suspension yes, no prom, not warranted.”

Tate himself said he has not heard any more from Smith since this past Friday afternoon, when she handed down her sentence. And though hundreds of thousands are rallying in his favor, he says he doesn’t think a decision reversal “would mean much.”

Be sure to return to Shelton Patch tomorrow morning for an exclusive video interview with James Tate.

kaleo kuoha May 12, 2011 at 05:43 PM
don't forget his friends everyone...anyways i sure hope this woman reviews what has been done...she still has a chance to make this a win/win situation...i surely hope she changes her mind..."for her peace of mind"...
Judge Tom May 12, 2011 at 07:41 PM
In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the importance of once-in-a-lifetime events such as a graduation ceremony. "Everyone knows that, in our society and in our culture, high school graduation is one of life's most significant occasions."* The same may be said for a student's senior prom. Respectfully, Judge Tom. *Lee v. Weisman www.askthejudge.info tom@askthejudge.info
kathleen May 12, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Dr. Smith is a coward, hiding behind faceless "rules" and suspending a student for a harmless, well-intentioned prank. She is a good example why teachers get a bad name. Shame on her.
nicole May 13, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Are you kidding me? I saw on the Today Show today that thee school said 1 reason for his punishment is because of the danger involved in putting up the letters YET they let him take it down (which he was planning on doing anyway). I think the principal needs to rethink this! Even the mayor & worldwide companies are on his side! Mr. Tate sounds like a good kid and there are better things to worry about than this!
johnny boy May 13, 2011 at 06:14 AM
I suspect other students' rights--freedom of speech--have been stamped upon. Even if what one student said on Facebook or tweeter is defamation or character, that should not be the right of school administration to deal with. You can bring charges perhaps, but should not be able to enforce any school punishment or threat thereof. Can they punish kids for any writing that is critical of the school? CAn we say "police state"? That is abuse of power, poor judgment, and grounds for dismissal--all of the administration. Bunch of cowards.
tammy May 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM
I think administrators need to think outside the box. Not everything is black and white. The administrators are obviously not smart enough to take a situation, evaluate it, evaluate the people involved and come up with a plan. This is exactly why public schools are failing!!
Theresa Hoelscher May 13, 2011 at 03:22 PM
I think all the Senior Student's should have there own Prom and no one show up at that school for Prom, but at another place, Like Rent a building and Parents get together cook the food and dress up the building, and Let that stupid School Principal go to Prom alone with no one showing up there! Spend all that money for a Prom at a school no one shows up to!!! I am sure that would be a great Punishment for the stupid so called School Board!!! They are all as dumb as she looks.... If I were the Senior Students of that school I would not show up for that Prom. Come on Parents step up for this kid, he did not do anything wrong at all. The school principal just wants to look important!
Art schlueter May 13, 2011 at 03:42 PM
The actions of the student were not in his best judgement, however the head administrator did not use good judgement in selecting the penality, rules and regulation are to be inforced with judgement and their was little though of fairness. Every one in the town that the school is located should be concering about the administraton of the school and also judgement of the school board. Situations like this make the city, state and USA look simple minded to the world. Art
Betty Alexander May 13, 2011 at 10:36 PM
I am a teacher--which is teaching, training, being a role model and demonstrating th proper emotional and social skills for successful living. Teachers and admininstrators are there for the kids. No kids--no job. If you do not like kids, do not waste your life pretending to be something you are not. Kids require a whole lot these days--and it is worth all the efforts that a community can direct into their lives. They will never forget the kindness and thoughtfulness that is handed to them. Eighteen year olds leave high school and go into the Military to train for the well being of our country. So PAY IT FORWARD, teachers and admininstrators. Think before you act. Maybe some rules need scrutinizing.
Chandralekha W ijeratne May 14, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Yes,very true that flexibility need to be exercised at a time like this. As an educator myself ,it is heart breaking to feel that this headmistress misused her authority on a simple incident of this nature.I sure pray that the headmistress will have a change of heart and allow them to celebrate their PROM.Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?. Please consider this student as one of your own children and exercise a little humanity.Resolve this matter INTELLECTUALLY.MAY THE NOBLE TRIPLE GEM'S BLESSINGS shower upon these innocent students so that they can really appreciate and value their well spent time to accomplish the goal of graduating as SENIORS. " EDUCATION IS THE ONLY WEALTH THAT NO ONE CAN EVER STEAL FROM YOU" So my humble request is not to deny the privilege of attending their PROM and to help these students to enjoy their final weeks as SENIORS who have well established their education. Prayers are in order for a peaceful outcome in favor of the students .May the headmistress be blessed with all the kindness and compassion within her to better understand students feelings. GOOD LUCK TO ALL GRADUATING FROM THIS SHELTON HIGH SCHOOL.
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:36 PM
heck I myself will make a creative way of asking a girl out to promn, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the pron, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:39 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:39 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:39 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:40 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:42 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home
Mario Moreno December 05, 2011 at 08:42 PM
heck I myself would have made a creative way of asking a girl out to prom back in high school, just for a chance of getting laid, thats what guys usually are after when they want to go to prom, think about it why you think they rent hotels, to go to it after the prom, because their parents will be home

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