can have his romantic dance after all.
Officials in Shelton, Conn. today said that the high school senior, whose following a creative proposal sparked a , will be allowed to go to prom along with the two friends who helped him with the proposal.
Speaking before about 10 media members on the steps outside Shelton High School — the same steps where she dug in with a — Headmaster Dr. Beth Smith said that after careful consideration, Tate can attend.
"I never thought that such a decision would lead to international notoriety as I make tough, unpopular decisions on a daily basis," Smith said.
Tate could not immediately be reached for comment.
After Smith made her statement, superintendent of public schools Freeman Burr and Mayor Mark A. Lauretti stuck around to speak with reporters.
"I think this is a learning experience for all," Burr said. "Students will certainly look differently as they move forward, and I think they'll create self-discipline strategies for how they conduct themselves."
"But let's not lose sight of the fact that kids will be kids," added Lauretti.
He and Burr both said that Smith handled the situation in a professional and considerate manner, despite the negative reputation she gained over the Internet.
"This should not diminish all the hard work that Dr. Smith has done in her career here at Shelton High School," Burr said. "She came in three years ago, took a school that had some drastic and radical issues, and basically worked with the staff to rebuild the school community, to restore a sense of order, a sense of discipline, so we would have an academic environment for students to be educated. That can't be dismissed."
Lauretti agreed that "she [Smith] shouldn't be so heavily-handed judged."
The reinstatement bookends a week-long media frenzy that started with that Tate had been banned from prom after he was issued an in-school suspension May 6. The suspension was triggered by an infraction for trespassing on school grounds before dawn that day, when Tate and some friends taped pieces of cardboard to the exterior of the school, with letters spelling out the question “Sonali Rodrigues, will you go to prom with me?” to surprise his prospective date.
The school reversed its decision, but it isn't clear whether administrators legally could have prevented Tate from attending prom if he'd chosen to fight the ban. As legislators worked to that would help Tate's cause, one Branford attorney told Patch Saturday that for filing injunctions that prevent prom bans in similar cases.
The national outcry voiced itself through social media and national TV, as Tate appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel and Today shows. A Shelton high alum formed an alternative event to be held June 4, “The James Tate Senior Prom 2011,” whose supporters reportedly include Pepsi, Red Bull and an area Hyundai dealership.