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James Tate's romantic prom proposal won't be all for nothing.
Shelton school officials announced Saturday a decision that allows Tate to attend his senior prom.
"I'm really excited that I got what I feel like I deserve," Tate said reacting to the news Saturday evening at his Shelton home. "I thought it was dead and gone but this is a pleasant surprise."
Tate had been suspended and subsequently banned from the prom because of the way he asked his classmate Sonali Rodrigues to be his date.
Shelton High headmaster Dr. Beth Smith stood firm all week in her decision to ban Tate, according to school rules, despite the media buzz and outcry that spread across the world. Nearly 200,000 people are supporting Tate on Facebook and Twitter. The senior also made appearances on national television including The Today Show.
Noting international pressure, Dr. Smith read a statement Saturday that announced a change in those rules. "I've decided to implement alternative consequences on a case by case basis beginning with James Tate and for other students who received suspension after April 1st, which would then permit some to attend prom."
Dr. Smith, accompanied by Superintendent Freeman Burr and Mayor Mark Lauretti, said the notoriety surrounding Tate's ban became too much of a distraction to Shelton High School and the town and she had to make a decision that would allow them to put focus back on teaching and learning.
Tate says despite all that has happened and the massive amount of attention this has received, he has no ill will towards administrators.
"They did what they thought was right," Tate said. "I'm sorry that I had to put Dr. Smith through everything."
Shelton school officials say this is a teachable moment for them too.
"Students are much more adept at social networking media than we are as school systems," Superintendent Freeman Burr said. "So we have a lesson to learn from that."
For Tate, it was always just about asking a friend to the prom. Rodrigues said yes the first time and said yes once again.
"She just texted me excited that I can go now," Tate said.
Asked if he might be in line for prom king, Tate responded,
"I believe so. Even if I wasn't going, I believe I was a lock for that."