Schenectady County

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons denies pair’s prom; reason unclear

Schenectady High School senior Ashley Civitello passed up the opportunity to go to her own prom last

Schenectady High School senior Ashley Civitello passed up the opportunity to go to her own prom last week because she was planning to go to her boyfriend’s prom at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School.

She bought a red glittery dress and flowers and was supposed to be getting her hair and nails done today before attending the prom.

But there’s just one problem: The school says she can’t go.

“I was mad and I wanted to know why I couldn’t go, and they had no explanation,” she said.

Guests who do not attend the school are required to fill out permission slips from their parents and get approval from their own school’s administrator. She completed the paperwork, and on May 7, ND-BG officials informed the couple of their decision.

Civitello said she has no idea why they are doing this. She is in good standing at her school, she said.

“There was nothing in my file about any disciplinary thing,” she said.

She also said school officials should have told her of the decision sooner — not a week before the prom.

Her boyfriend, JaShing Ortiz of Rotterdam, said he was also disappointed. He has been friends with Civitello for seven years and they have been dating for about a month.

“I wanted to bring my girlfriend to the prom,” said Ortiz, a senior.

Ortiz said he doesn’t want to go alone, so he and Civitello will think of something to do on their own.

His mother, Maureen VanNatten, said school officials were giving the parents the runaround. She wanted to know why Civitello couldn’t go, but school officials told her they didn’t have to tell her anything because she was not the parent of the girl.

Ashley’s mother, Patty Civitello, called the school multiple times without getting a response. She was finally able to get a face-to-face meeting with Principal Mike Piatek.

“He had no explanation — none whatsover,” she said.

Civitello said she was upset that the school was passing judgment on their daughter.

“You don’t know my daughter from Adam,” she said.

Civitello criticized the principal for his treatment of the situation.

“You walk the halls of this building every single day and you preach forgiveness, fairness, don’t be judgmental, the whole bit,” she said.

In addition to her daughter’s disappointment, it’s a financial loss for the family for the cost of the dress and shoes.

“I probably have $600 invested at this point that is non-refundable,” she said.

ND-BG officials did not return a message left for comment. Kenneth Goldfarb, spokesman for the Albany Catholic Diocese, could not offer comment on why Civitello could not attend. However, he said the school has a long-standing policy requiring the permission slips for students to bring dates who attend a different school. The school has the discretion to decide who can attend.

“The school in reviewing that request has the ultimate authority in terms of whether that request will be granted. That process is known to the students and followed in a timely fashion,” he said.

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