Representative Jason Perillo (R-113) has said he will introduced legislation which would allow Shelton teen James Tate to attend his high school prom with his date Sonali Rodriguez.
Tate was suspended from school and banned from attending the annual dance after Tate and some friends taped some cardboard letters outside the school’s main entrance to form a message asking Rodriguez to be his date.
While Rodriguez responded with a “yes” to the extraordinary gesture, Tate and his friends received an in-school suspension for the act of taping up the message on the school wall. School official s claimed in media accounts that the suspension was given for trespassing on school grounds, and for the jeopardy Tate placed his safety in using a ladder to post the letters.
“I think most reasonable people would agree that this is a very poor and unfair decision by the school administration,” said Rep. Perillo. “While it can certainly be argued that this measure I am introducing is an overreach of state government, I would say that the overreaching in discipline by this school administration has warranted it. While some punishment is in order, this is excessive. ”
Under Perillo’s amendment, when a local or regional board of education intends to prohibit a student from attending any school sponsored event that occurs within thirty school days prior to the final school session of the school year due to the student’s violation of a policy of the school district, the parents of said student must be provided an alternative option for punishment such as community service or a cleanup detail. That is provided such violation is not an act of violence or property damage.
“James Tate appears to be a great student and a good kid,” said Rep. Perillo. “He chose a somewhat dramatic way to ask his date to the prom. That seems to have been his biggest offense. The punishment he received is grossly disproportionate to any offense, and I want to help get him and his date to the prom.”