Conn. student James Tate still not going to the prom, says headmaster
(CBS/WCBS/AP) SHELTON, Conn. - Punishment stands for James Tate, the Connecticut high school student who gained national and international support for being banned from the prom after his creative proposal backfired.
In a brief news conference, school headmaster Beth A. Smith said Thursday that the Shelton High School stands behind its policy, and that James Tate will be not allowed to go to the prom, reports CBS affiliate WFSB.
Smith said Tate's punishment was the result of a well-publicized school policy that outlined consequences for anyone who got into trouble at school after April 1 - including banishment from prom.
Smith said, "This unfortunate situation is a result of one of those consequences." She did not take questions.
Tate and two friends taped 12-inch cardboard letters outside the school's main entrance, asking a friend to the dance as part of a contest among the three friends to see who could ask their dates to the prom in the most creative way.
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 to the request, but Tate and his two friends were given one-day, in-house suspensions and were banned from attending the prom.
According to reports, Tate was suspended on the grounds that he trespassed on school property and endangered his safety by using a ladder to post the letters.
News that Tate has been banned from the prom has received global attention.
Shelton Alderman Jack Finn told WFSB that the school's handling of the situation has been too extreme and said he has been inundated with phone calls and messages of support for Tate.
"Not only have Shelton residents e-mailed me, but I've received emails from as far away as Scotland, England and even up in Canada," Finn said. "I have respect for Dr. Smith. She's taken the school and turned it back into an education facility, but in this incident I can't support her."
Two state lawmakers said they were introducing legislation that would allow Tate to attend his prom. Reps. Jason Perillo, of Shelton and Sean Williams, of Waterbury said they were in the process of drafting a new amendment that will force school officials to give parents an option of completing community service when their child is barred from a school event for a policy violation within one month of the school year being completed.
A Facebook page for supporters of Tate has more than 104,000 supporters Thursday morning.
Tate on Wednesday said he feels bad that his two friends were given in-house suspensions.
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