P’ville School Officials Deal With Fallout of ‘Promposal’ Controversy

Pleasantville school officials continue to investigate a recent “inappropriate and unacceptable” social media message sent recently by a student asking another student to the prom.

Word of the “promposal,” which has become an increasingly popular method for students to ask others to the prom, prompted parents and residents to press school officials for more information as word spread throughout the community about the incident and how it is being addressed, according to a joint statement released Wednesday by Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter and the Board of Education.

On May 8, Pleasantville High School Principal Joseph Palumbo had sent a letter to parents addressing the matter.

“As soon as we were made aware of the incident, we began an investigation,” the principal’s letter stated. “The students involved have been cooperative and remorseful, however, that does not in any way excuse the conduct. The district rejects the message that was included in the ‘Promposal’ and is treating this issue with the utmost seriousness.”

Reached on Wednesday, Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter did not reveal when the message was sent or its nature, although it is believed to be racially offensive. She also did not discuss any disciplinary action taken against the student or students involved in the incident citing privacy issues under state law.

Apparently, screenshots had been taken of the message but how extensively it was circulated is not certain, she said.

Pleasantville school officials, through their joint statement, pledged to review the diversity education offered by the district. Steps that have been taken include reaching out to the Anti-Defamation League to learn how Pleasantville can include more programs on acceptance and diversity.

“As a district we’re committed to improving our programs,” Fox-Alter said.

She said the district had already scheduled “Upstanders Day” for next Thursday, May 23 at the high school. For that program, the district invited the organization Value Up, which seeks to enrich the lives of young people, to present its Walk a Mile Assembly. The assembly includes a multi-media presentation that focuses on respect and diversity and addresses issues such as substance abuse, bullying and poor academic engagement.