Prom Redress? Support Grows to Make Once-Banned Connecticut Teen Prom King

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Now that a Connecticut high school senior will be allowed to attend his prom following an unusual invite to a fellow classmate, a new movement is afoot to make James Tate king for a night.

As of early Tuesday, nearly 4,000 people support a Facebook page dedicated to making Tate the 2011 prom king at Shelton High School in Shelton, Conn., where he was originally barred from attending the school's prom on June 4 for asking classmate Sonali Rodrigues to the dance by taping a message to the front of the school earlier this month. The 12-inch cardboard letters read: "Sonali Rodrigues, Will you go to prom with me? HMU -Tate." HMU means hit me up, or call me.

"He may not realize it, but James is already Prom King, even if he isn't crowned king at the dance," one Facebook posting read. "His plight aroused the world."

Another posting read: "Congratulations on your victory over a tremendously stupid decision of punishment for the crime, another example of overpaid administrators who use poor judgment not conducive to their inflated salaries!"

Shelton High School School Headmaster Beth Smith reversed her decision on Saturday, saying Tate, 18, and the two classmates who helped him post the message on the school's wall can attend. Calls to Smith on Tuesday seeking details on voting for the school's prom king and queen were not immediately returned.

Smith's reversal followed widespread criticism of the punishment from Mayor Mark Lauretti, two state lawmakers, students and Dan Orlovsky, a NFL quarterback for the Houston Texans who graduated from the school in 2001. One Facebook page had nearly 200,000 supporters who backed Tate's bid to go to the dance.

"Yeah, I think it's ridiculously harsh," Orlovsky told prior to the reversal. "I get school rules and lines and boundaries, but what's the alternative here? Reprimand the kid if you want, but to make an example out of him like this is taking a lot of the fun out of being a senior in high school. It's kind of comical."

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti said that he was unsure Tate's "punishment fits the crime" and told last week that school officials should reconsider the decision to allow him to go to prom.

Tate, meanwhile, told NBC's "Today" show on Monday that he woke up Saturday and heard Smith was holding a news conference, but he didn't know what it was for, or if he was invited, so he went golfing. He said the entire event was "blown completely out of proportion" and was willing to accept alternate punishment.

Rodrigues said the situation has been "weird," with one person asking for her autograph at the movies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.