Customs investigates use of government chopper in dance invitation

Photo: Keith Tyler

An over-the-top invitation to homecoming that used a government helicopter as a prop has prompted a review by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The incident happened last week at Patriot High School in Prince William County. On behalf of a student, the chopper pilot flew over the school and dropped a stuffed bear onto the football field so the student could ask a girl to homecoming.

Word got out quickly about the chopper at Patriot High. On Twitter, one of the students wondered why a helicopter was flying over campus that day.

In Manassas, a Patriot High mom wondered how in the world this happened.

School officials say they gave the OK, because it was after school and no students were on the field at the time.

The agency announced Tuesday it is reviewing the incident, and the pilot involved has been reassigned to administrative duties for now.

Customs and Border Protection say they “are aware of reports that a locally-based CBP helicopter was used improperly… management is looking into the matter and the pilot in command of the aircraft has been relieved and reassigned to administrative duties pending completion of the review of the incident.”

“When I heard it at first, it seems like a nice gesture,” said Nicole Toussaint, a Manassas resident who simply thinks of it as a sweet thought from a teenaged boy in love.

“It’s a shame that he got in trouble for it, but you know, I guess it’s his son. He was just trying to do something nice to him," she said.