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.”