Miss America Nina Davuluri visited Central York High School in York, Pa., on Thursday to speak about diversity. Patrick Farves, an 18-year-old senior, decided it would be the perfect opportunity to ask her in public to be his date for the big dance.
School administrators got wind of the planned stunt and told Farves not to importune the guest speaker.
But Farves went ahead with his prom proposal, presenting the beauty queen with a plastic purple flower.
Davuluri declined graciously, but school officials weren't quite so nice about it. They handed Farves a 3.5-day suspension, although it's to be served in school, where he'll have to work in one classroom with no talking.
The Twitter outrage was immediate. What's wrong with daring to dream big? people asked.Where is the freedom of speech?
"The student was instructed not to do something," Michael Wagner, president of the Central York School District's board of school directors, told the York Dispatch newspaper. "He chose to do it anyway, and there are consequences."
Davuluri posted a message on the Miss America Organization's Facebook page, saying she was "flattered" by Farves' request "although I am unfortunately unable to attend due to my travel schedule."
She said she hoped school officials would reconsider the disciplinary action.
But Farves said he understood why he was being suspended.
Meanwhile, Farves' own calendar has gotten very full. He told the newspaper he's been booked on NBC's "Today" show and has also been approached by "The Ellen Degeneres Show" and "Inside Edition."
"Every time I open my phone, it's just something new," the teen said.
Celebrity prom dates have become something of a trend. Another Pennsylvania high school student asked singer Taylor Swift to the prom. She had a scheduling conflict but did go out on a date with him.
Justin Timberlake attended a Marine Corps ball in 2011 after one lucky young lady's YouTube proposal went viral. A few months earlier, actress Mila Kunis attended a similar event on the arm of a Marine who had recently returned from duty in Afghanistan. He also proposed the date via YouTube.
Farves, by the way, is still allowed to go to the prom, although he'll be looking for a different date.
The teen told the York Dispatch he and his friends are class clowns, but he never expected his stunt would get this much attention.
"We would've never imagined it coming to this extent," he said. "This is ridiculous."