The politics of prom

Updated
By Danielle Weisberg
Suspended student James Tate and the girl he asked to prom in front of Shelton High School.
Suspended student James Tate and the girl he asked to prom in front of Shelton High School.
AP Images

Who are you taking? What are you wearing? How did he ask you? These are the usual decisions that surround the high school rite of passage known as prom. Unfortunately for James Tate, 18, a student at Shelton High School in Connecticut, prom is not that simple.

In a political melodrama fit for Glee, school administrators barred James Tate from his June 4th prom and suspended him for one day all because of the way he asked a girl to prom - by posting an invitation on the side of the school.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Tate and two friends went to Shelton High at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning and taped a cardboard message to the building: “Sonali Rodrigues, will you go to the prom with me? HMU [Hit me up] — Tate.”

Tate isn’t giving up too easily. His punishment has garnered him national media attention including media appearances, a Facebook page (“Let James Tate Go To Prom”), a Twitter trend (#TeamTate), and a petition, all within 24 hours reports The Baltimore Sun. An Alderman stated that even he had received more than 1,000 emails, some from overseas, urging the school to overturn its decision.

It seems that Tate also has the support of his fellow students, who have even started a Facebook page calling for a new prom that he can attend. 

The Associated Press reports today that two state lawmakers plan on introducing legislation that would allow Tate to attend the dance. State Congressmen Jason Perillo of Shelton and Sean Williams of Waterbury are drafting an amendment that would force school officials to offer parents of punished teens the option of community service  in cases where a student is barred from a school event for a policy infringement in the last month of the year.

Shelton’s headmaster has not released a public statement.

What do you think - should lawmakers be getting involved or stay out of a school matter? What do you think of all the social network attention? And most importantly, did Sonali say “yes”?

Connecticut

The politics of prom

Updated