Nightly News | May 13, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Well, if you're a guy, you know asking a girl to the prom is tough, always has been. And this week, when Connecticut teenager decided to make a big splash with his invitation, it backfired big time . Some found it romantic; his school did not. Now the Web is on fire with this story. He has supporters all over the globe, and the principal says rules is rules. Our report from NBC 's Mara Schiavocampo .
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO reporting: It all started with the writing on the wall . Late last week, in the dead of night, Shelton High School senior James Tate and two friends dragged a ladder and 12-inch cardboard letters to campus, taping this message onto a school
wall: " Sonali Rodrigues , will you go to prom with me?"
Mr. JAMES TATE: I figured I'd do something special and do it big.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Rodrigues , a classmate and friend, said yes, but school officials said no, suspending Tate and his friends for trespassing and banning him from the June 4th prom. As news spread, so did the outrage.
Unidentified Woman: I think it's kind of ridiculous.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: And it went viral. Supporters gathered online, enchanted by the romance of it all, thousands twitting words of encouragement. The Let James Tate Go to the Prom Facebook page has nearly 180,000 fans.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: The town's mayor says he's been inundated with e-mails from far beyond Connecticut ...
Mr. MARK A. LAURETTI (Shelton, Connecticut, Mayor): China, Japan, Australia.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: ...every last one supporting Tate .
Mr. LAURETTI: It doesn't make sense. There has to be some common sense.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: But not everyone has been swayed. Thursday the school's
headmaster made one thing clear: Rules are rules.
Ms. BETH SMITH (Shelton High School Headmaster): Students receiving an in-school or out-of-school suspension after April 1st , for any reason, would not be allowed to attend the prom.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: So while Tate 's sorry for his message on this wall...
Mr. TATE: I'm sorry, it won't happen again, for me, and I'd like to go to prom very much with her.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: ...online supporters vow to keep up the fight on this one. Mara Schiavocampo, NBC News, Shelton, Connecticut .