Video: No prom for senior after public invitation to friend

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    >>> high school student in connecticut is getting a lot of attention for the way he invite add friend to the prom. that's because he got band from the prom. we'll talk to him and his would-be date in a moment but first mara is here with more. mara, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: well, matt, high school senior james tate thought he was being sweet when he posted a invaiation on a high school wall. that got him banned altogether. now tens of thousands are speaking out, demanding tate be allowed to go to the dance. grand gestures by smitten high school students. in the movies, they always work so well. but for connecticut senior james tate , his public show of affection had anything be a hollywood ending . late last week he had a unique way of asking friend somali rodriguez to prom.

    >> i was waiting for a special way to ask her. and i did that, and this is what happened.

    >> reporter: early friday morning tate and two friends dragged a ladder and a cordboard sign to the wall taping this to the later. sonali rodrigues, will you go to prom with me, hmu for hit me up, tate .

    >> reporter: rodriguez said yes but school officials said no. tuesday they suspended tate and his friends for one day. a charge, trespassing for the stunt they said was dangerous. but the harshest part of his punishment hrks e was banned from prom. as the news spread, so did the outrage.

    >> i can't believe they're not allowing him to go. he didn't do anything destructive.

    >> i think it's kind of ridiculous. i mean your senior year prom is kind of like the big thing, so if you can't go, it's kind of like a big impact on your life.

    >> reporter: tate 's post on this wall is leads to tons of messageses on this one. on the "let james tate go to prom" facebook page, tens of thousands are appealing on his behalf. the new shelton prom page is calling for a separate dance tate can attend. and on twitter, there are thousands.

    >> we all put our twilter statuses, team tate .

    >> reporter: even local public officials are speak out. the mayor told the " connecticut post ," i'm at a loss here and i'm not convinced the punishment fits the crime. as for tate he doesn't need any cardboard letters to convey his new message. he's sorry.

    >> i'm sorry. it won't happen again for me and i'd like to go to prom very much.

    >> reporter: matt, we reached out to school officials but did not hear back, but this morning we ran into the head matter who handed down the suspension. she said she may have something later in the day.

    >> i have a feeling she's going to. thank you very much. james tate is with us exclusively along with the young lady he hoped to take to the prom, sonali rodrigues. good morning to you both. james , this seemed like a good idea. did you ever consider you might get in this kind of trouble for inviting sonali to the prom this way?

    >> no. i thought they would appreciate my sincere creativity and judgment and realize that me and sonali are both good people and we should have been able to attend the prom together.

    >> so when you got called into the head master's office you thought they were going to talk to you about the mischief part of this but you had no idea that you would, a, be suspended, and, b, be grand the prom.

    >> right. instead there's an investigation that's escalated to this.

    >> sonali , just give me your reaction when you first saw the sign on the big wall inviting you to the prom. did you think it was sweet or did you worry it could get james in trouble?

    >> i thought it was really sweet. i never, ever thought he would get in trouble. so when he actually told me he was suspended i thought he was joking because he usually tends to do things like that.

    >> sonali , weren't you also called into the office?

    >> yeah, i was.

    >> did you get in any trouble?

    >> no. they asked me what i thought of the sign. they never really talked to me after the sign though.

    >> let's talk about the uproar that has followed this situation. the facebook page. i hear 70,000 likes now on this page. we have the mayor of shelton saying he's not sure that the punishment fits the crime. what do you think about the punishment, james ?

    >> i completely agree with the mayor. i feel like it would have been more appropriate to make me clean up the letters or do some -- spend a weekend there cleaning up trash outside the school or mopping floors or something like that.

    >> community service .

    >> a week of detention, just so i don't miss my prom.

    >> sonali , this is the guy who asked you to the prom. he's banned from the prom. would you consider going without him, or is that a nonstarter?

    >> i really don't know. i'm hoping they reverse the decision so i would haven't to go by myself.

    >> i have a feeling, i think calmer heads might prevail, especially since you've taken full responsibility and it does seem as if the punishment is a little out of order with the prom. i hope you can still go to the prom. can you buy a ticket or has the deadline passed?

    >> i think i'm supposed to buy one today, but i'm not sure.

    >> good luck to you both. thanks for joining us. james tats, good luck. we'll be following the story closely. we

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 5/12/2011 8:30:02 AM ET 2011-05-12T12:30:02

A Connecticut teenager who posted a sign on the front of his high school asking a girl to go to prom with him has been barred from attending.

Shelton High School senior James Tate and two friends posted 12-inch tall cardboard letters outside the school's main entrance, where everyone would see them going in last Friday morning.

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. But Tate and his two friends have been given one-day, in-house suspensions by the headmaster and barred from the prom.

Vote: Should teen be banned from prom for big sign?

Tate told The Connecticut Post that he was told posting the message constituted trespassing and posed a safety risk.

School policy is to ban from the prom any student suspended after April 1.

"I tried to appeal, tried to just get a detention instead. I even offered to do community service," Tate told the Post.

Friends of Tate have set up a Facebook page urging school officials to reconsider.

Headmaster Beth Smith had not returned a call Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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