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Did Shelton High School Officials Overact to the Prom Date Sign Put Up By James Tate?

Our working mom, Melisa Thorne, wants your input on the James Tate and Sonali Rodrigues prom debacle that cropped up in May.

Social networking is a bit of a hobby of mine. I Facebook. I admit it. I even "like" pages that are forged for products or causes that I believe in. So, when the power of social networking impacts school legistlation, naturally I'm intrigued. 

Clearly, high school students know how to use the power of social media to their advantage. (Read the story below). I'm really interested in hearing your opinion on this:

Last month, James Tate wanted to ask Sonali Rodrigues to the Shelton High School prom. He wanted to be original so he and some friends sneaked onto school grounds at their school after hours and taped up a series of cardboard cut letters which read: “Sonali Rodrigues, will you go to prom with me? HMU – Tate.” (HMU stands for “Hit Me Up" in case you weren’t up on the lingo.)

The girl said yes. But the principal said no. Posting the sign violated school trespassing rules, resulting in a short-term suspension, while also triggering another rule that states that any student suspended after April 1 will not be allowed to attend the prom.

The decision upset classmates and a "Let James Tate go to the Prom" Facebook page was created on facebook, accumulating nearly 9,000 likes. Thus, the story caught the attention of local media as well as national media. 

On May 12, if you tuned into The Today Show, you would have seen the star-crossed lovers; James Tate and Sonali Rodrigues moaning their tale of woe. In the days that followed, the principal, Beth Smith, faced TV cameras in front of the school building and .

Later after relenting public pressure, Smith reversed her decision.

What do you think? Did the school overreact? Did the punishment fit the crime? What are your thoughts on Principal Smith caving to the public outcry?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeanne E. Craigie June 24, 2011 at 08:08 PM
As a member of your School Committee, I think they did overreact to the situation. Nothing was derogatory nor was any of it offensive. I thought if that were to come before me I for one would vote for originality and creativity something we hope all students would value!
Jacqui Thomas June 24, 2011 at 08:35 PM
I think they overreacted. The young man used his imagination to ask a girl to Prom, big deal. Stop sweating the small things and overreact to more important issues like "BULLYING"!!!

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