It started as a joke.
And wound up with an 18-year-old senior at Central York High School serving a three-day in-school suspension for asking a woman for a date.
The woman was Nina Davuluri, also known as the reigning Miss America.
When Patrick Farves heard that Davuluri was coming to his school, he joked with friends that he was going to ask her to be his prom date.
And as it often happens in high school, word spread quickly, and soon his classmates at Central York High School were approaching him and asking him whether he was going to ask Miss America to the prom. There came a point, Patrick, from Manchester Township, said, that he felt he had to do it.
He is known around school for doing stunts like that. Last year, when Rohan Murphy, an athlete born without legs who became a motivational speaker, made an appearance at the school, Farves, during the question and answer period, asked if he could take a "selfie" with the wrestler. Murphy agreed.
So as the assembly featuring Davuluri approached, Patrick steeled himself to ask her out. He got her a little plastic flower, and if there was a question-and-answer session, he would pop the question. It was not clear whether he would have the opportunity. A few students were selected to ask pre-screened questions, and Patrick wasn't among them.
And it appeared that the school administration wasn't cool with his plan. Word got to the administration, and a member of the staff pulled Patrick into his office right before the assembly. He told Patrick the administration had heard rumors about what he was planning and that if he chose to go through with it, it would be considered inappropriate.
"At that point in time, it was 10 minutes before the presentation, and I was pretty much set to do it," he said. "I was a little pressured. Everybody expected me to do it."
And he said, "I'm the kind of person who, if someone says I won't do something, I'll prove people wrong. I will."
During the assembly, the Q-and-A session ended and there was time for a few more questions. Patrick approached the mic and said, "Miss America, I have a question."
And he asked her to be his prom date.
The crowd in the auditorium cheered.
Patrick approached the stage and handed Davuluri the plastic flower and asked whether he could take a "selfie" with her. She said, "Maybe later."
Patrick turned to return to his seat and did a little dance.
The crowd cheered again.
One of his friends was next to ask Miss America a question, but before he did, he told the crowd, "Let's give a hand to my friend, Patrick Farves."
It was then that an administrator removed Patrick from the auditorium and took him to the principal's office. He figured he was in deep trouble, that he might be looking at a suspension or be forbidden from going to the prom, or not be allowed to walk at graduation this June. (He is planning to attend Point Park University to study communications or film and theater.) The principal, he said, was pretty mad.
He got three days in-school suspension. But he can still go to prom.
His suspension sparked a Twitter protest at the school — #freepatty. Patrick didn't have anything to do with it. He accepts his punishment and he thinks he got off lucky.
"I do understand why the administration was mad," he said. "I don't want to be the kind of person to try to justify myself. ...I didn't intend to disrespect the administration. I can see how it was seen as a slap in the face."
He realizes that his act took attention away from the event and that he did it even after being told not to.
And he has apologized. While in suspension, he wrote a letter of apology to the assistant superintendent.
He had gone to a concert Thursday night and didn't tell his mother, Ann, about it until Friday morning. She said she was disappointed that he defied the administration, but thought that his action was "kind of cute."
"It's a very mixed bag," she said.
After the assembly, Patrick said he texted a friend who was working backstage with Davuluri and asked to have his apology passed on. It wasn't necessary. She thought it was cute, his friend told him.
"I want to give a shout out to Miss America for being a good sport," Patrick said.
The school district declined to comment "as a matter of district policy," spokeswoman Julie Randall Romig wrote in an email, adding that "student disciplinary actions are confidential by law and we respect both the law and our students' rights to privacy."
Central issued a statement later on its website, read it in its entirety below:
"It is not our practice to discipline a student for asking someone - even Miss America - to a school dance. However, it is our practice to set expectations for student behavior, to communicate those expectations and rules to students and families and to ensure those rules are followed within our schools. This practice is not uncommon and happens every day, multiple times a day, in schools, businesses and homes across America.
"Let's take the rules of parents, for example. If I tell my child to be home by 10PM, and my husband tells our child to be home at 10PM, what do we do if our child defies us and returns home at midnight? As parents, we would be remiss not to give an appropriate consequence to our child for deliberately defying us so that our child understands that our rules should be followed and respected. Schools must operate in the same way.
"Yesterday's event was a wonderful experience for our students and a once in a lifetime opportunity for our district, and it is a shame that the media wants to frame this story to sell papers and make headlines using a distortion of what actually occurred.
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