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Let Tate ( And His Friends! ) Go to Prom

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Supporters

 

From the CTPost. 


Anne M. Amato, Staff Writer

SHELTON -- It began as a simple gesture. Shelton High School senior James Tate just wanted to make his good friend, Sonali Rodrigues, feel special.

So instead of the usual way of asking her to the senior prom, Tate and two friends went to the high school campus in the middle of the night and posted 12-inch tall, cardboard letters on the outside of the building -- at the main entrance.

The message that many saw when they arrived to school Friday, read: "Sonali Rodrigues, Will you go to the prom with me? Tate."

She said yes.

"It took a lot of effort," said Tate.

He posted the letters, one at a time, in a "safe and thoughtful way" to avoid trouble.

But, it appears, that didn't work out.

Because of what he did, Tate can't go to the prom.

Tuesday, after meeting with his headmaster, Tate and his two friends were each given one day, in-house suspensions and banned from the prom. Tate was told the administration felt what they did was a safety risk.

But, the teen said, he took every precaution when he posted the message early Friday morning, sometime between 1 and 3 a.m.

"I had one friend hold the ladder while the other put double-sided tape on the letters," he said. Tate said he also wore a helmet.

He was told another reason for the suspensions was that they had trespassed on school grounds.

"I didn't enter the school at all," he said. And while the front gates to the school were locked, Tate said he and his friends were able to get onto the grounds on a foot path.

Tate said that, according to school regulations, if you get suspended after April 1, you can't go to the prom.

"I tried to appeal -- tried to just get a detention instead," he said. "I even offered to do community service -- like cleaning up the litter outside the school."

But, he said, nothing worked.

"Now I have a date for the prom, but can't go," he said.

"This is ridiculous," said Rodrigues. "James is one of my best friends and we are both good kids who never got in trouble. I've never been to the principal's office except to get an award."

Rodrigues was also called to the headmaster's office Tuesday morning. "They just asked me some questions, like would I still go to the prom if James couldn't," she said.

She will go, with a girlfriend, whose boyfriend has also been suspended for an unrelated incident.

"This is really upsetting," she said. "It's our senior year and we are supposed to have happy memories, not something like this."

Shelton High School headmaster Beth Smith did not return calls for comment Tuesday. Superintendent Freeman Burr declined comment, referring all questions to Smith.

 

Sign this petition to let Tate and his friends attend prom today!

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Headmaster
    Beth Smith
  • Housemaster
    David Presutto
  • Housemaster
    John Skerritt
  • Alderman
    Jack Finn
  • BOE
    Tim Walsh
  • BOE
    Win Oppel
  • BOE
    Paula Ellis
  • BOE
    Tim Walsh
  • BOE
    Kathy Yolish
  • BOE
    Michael Pocowta
  • BOE
    Kate Kutash
  • BOE
    John Francino-Quinn
  • BOE
    Arlene Liscinsky
  • BOE
    Win Oppel
  • Superintendant
    Freeman Burr
  • Housemaster
    Steven Swensen


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