Facebook Credited With Prom Ban Reversal

Facebook saves the day for a high school senior banned from his prom.

May 16, 2011 -- Score one for all the young men, and women, brave enough to draw up the courage to ask their love to prom.

And score one for the power of Facebook, Twitter…and a little heart.

James Tate, the honor student from Shelton High School in Connecticut banned from his prom after his creative proposal backfired, is putting his tux back on, after all.

After hundreds of thousands of people posted on Facebook and more than 10,000 tweets flowed in on Twitter, the high school prom drama became a viral buzz, a national debate, and, in the end, enough of a distraction at Shelton High that school officials cried a virtual uncle.

On Saturday, Beth Smith, the headmaster of the public high school, gave in to what she called "international notoriety" and reversed the school's decision, allowing Tate to take his date to the prom.

James, a senior, was banned from the prom in April by school administrators after he posted cardboard letters on the side of the school that read, "Sonali Rodrigues Will You Go To Prom With Me? HMU [Hit Me Up] – Tate."

Sonali said yes, but the school said no. Since James and his friends trespassed after hours, their punishment was a suspension, and a disinvitation from the prom.

"I was going to go with her and was waiting for a special time, a special way, to ask her," James explained to ABC News. "I did that and this is what happened."

Fellow students staged a sit-in and other local efforts followed. But it was Facebook pages such as, "Let James Tate Go to the Prom," emerging after James's story was reported locally, that took his prom-crusading cause viral, and onto the national stage.

The social media exposure landed him an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and a "Person of the Week" award bestowed on James by ABC's Diane Sawyer.

And it taught the school district itself a lesson.

"Students are much more adept at social networking media than we are as school systems," concluded Freeman Burr, superintendent of schools for Shelton, Conn.

Burr and Smith said that Tate and his two friends would now be handed "alternate consequences."

So a change of heart for the school district, but not for the girl, or the boy who showed his heart to her.

Sonali still says yes. And James still has his tux for the June 4 prom.

The lesson learned from it all, as admitted by Shelton High School school officials, is one for the 21st century.

"Don't mess with Facebook."