USA Today:– A Florida high school principal said he regrets using live animals including a caged tiger as part of a jungle-themed prom.
The theme of the prom at Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School was “Welcome to the Jungle,” reports an ABC affiliate covering south Florida.
The prom, hosted at a hotel near Miami International Airport, featured several animals including a caged tiger, a lemur, two macaws and an African fennec fox.
Details of the wild animals’ appearance were sparked in part by a Facebook post from Mari-Cris Castellanos, whose brother attends the school. Her post included videos of the tiger pacing around the cage during prom.
“This poor tiger was used as an EXOTIC amusement for the mindless teenagers who were present,” she wrote. “It is not the student [sic] fault to be so naive BUT it’s the CCHS STAFF who arranged this event.”
In an interview with NBC Miami, the student’s mother, Maria Del Carmen Castellanos, said the decision to use the animals showed a lack of sensitivity. “Whoever booked this event, with its exotic entertainment, might have not realized the message they were sending to the children attending the prom,” she said.
According to statements sent to multiple local outlets, Christopher Columbus High School said the tiger was never in danger or forced to perform, and handlers were with the animal at all times.
“Upon reflection, we regret the decision to have live animals at our prom,” said Principal David Pugh in a statement sent to ABC affiliate WPLG. “This decision in no way reflects the Marist values, teachings of the Catholic Church and/or the accomplishments of our young and that of our distinguished alumni.”