One Texas high school senior got something he never imagined when he popped the “promposal” question this week — three days of out-of-school suspension (OSS).
San Antonio teen Jed Aurelio made painstaking plans to ask a female student to go the prom with him. On Tuesday, the clean cut kid made good on his promposal in the hallway at Wagner High after an assembly, surprising one lucky girl, who accepted the prom invitation. The presentation included white roses, balloons and an oversized homemade banner that asked in pink marker, Prom?
The term “promposal” fuses the words “prom” and “proposal.” Part of the practice is to capture the entire proposal to the prom on camera and post it online. Last year, Dr. Kit Yarrow, a psychologist and Golden Gate University professor noted: “The more outlandish the promposal, the more attention and feedback they get from friends on social media.”
As promposals go, Aurelio’s was pretty tame, according to teen magazine Seventeen, which described far more elaborate stunts like stealing goats or a police officer fake arresting a student’s prom date. So popular is this newfangled 21st Century teen fad that Mens Wearhouse, the self-described go-to destination for prom and formalwear, capitalized on the day by proclaiming March 11 National Promposal Day.
Afterwards, Aurelio and the three friends who helped him stage the promposal found themselves in trouble. The Judson Independent School District suspended them for three-days. District spokesman Steve Linscomb said to KENS 5 (CBS) that, previously, the teen was told not to put up the large banner because it would cause a disruption.
“We’ve got to have some sense of order in a school,” said Linscomb. “We understand the social aspect of the prom. And we know it means an awful lot to these students. We get that. But you can’t do it to the point where it becomes a Hollywood production and you’ve got a big disruption going on.”
The teen’s mother, Judith, felt administrators overreacted. She told the San Antonio CBS-TV affiliate her son received unfair punishment, noting he had no history of suspensions. “I hope they will loosen up a bit on this and let the kids have fun, she said.
Breitbart Texas reports on the school-to-prison pipeline, the result of rigid zero tolerance policies that criminalize K-12 student behavior. These policies can derail a students future. In 2011, Texas A&M University identified that 30 percent of Texas students in grades 7-12 received out-of-school suspensions, while 15 percent were either suspended or expelled at least 11 times.
Texas student codes of conduct grant school districts broad discretionary leeway and the authority to refer students for punishments for discretionary offenses deemed “disruptive.” The Judson ISD Student Code of Conduct handbook like all other Texas public school codes of conduct literature is written in accordance with the state’s 1995 Safe Schools Act and Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code. It lists a lot of things as disruptions – school absences, interfering with a school operations, making loud classroom noises, and profane language, among others. It even includes those class interruptions that occur off-campus but on public property within 500 feet of district property.
Aurelio and his friends will return to school Monday. Linscomb said Aurelio will get to go to the prom in April. He added that the district stands behind the suspension as a reminder to students that rules must be followed.
Rules may be rules, but KENS 5 viewers voiced a very different opinion about them. In a real time poll Thursday, the San Antonio TV news outlet asked their audience: “Are suspensions justified for ‘disruptive’ prom proposals?” — 94 percent said a resounding “no,” while only 6 percent answered “yes.”
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.