Paul Jacob

It’s that time, again: Young people in tuxedos and fancy dresses (and stretch limos), celebrating their near-completion of a dozen years of compulsory schooling with one big dance as they prepare to enter the larger world.

Thirty-three years ago, my wife went with me to our high school senior prom on our first official date. That day marks the jumping off point for a long and fruitful journey that has included seeing our own off to the prom.

Though today I’m oh-so-much more sophisticated, I still remember the amazing courage required to actually do the “asking out” part. A most essential step. Everyone who has ever asked anyone out knows.

Just not quite as well as James Tate now knows.

Tate is the Shelton High School senior first suspended from his Connecticut school on May 6 and then banned from attending his senior prom, only to be miraculously freed yesterday from the school’s zero-tolerance prom-death-penalty, because of massive worldwide media attention (all negative on the school’s gulag-like stance) and a couple hundred thousand active supporters on the “Let James Tate Go to the Prom” Facebook page.

What led to young Tate’s banishment and then to an Arab-style Facebook revolution in the Constitution State?

It began with the unmistakable fact that Mr. Tate is a normal teenage male Homo sapiens in the alternative universe known as an American public high school. James wanted to ask a girl to the prom in a way that would “make her feel special,” so he, with the help of two friends, taped 12-inch tall letters on the brick front wall of the school that read, “Sonali Rodrigues, Will you go to prom with me? HMU [hit me up] Tate.”

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.