MIAMI, Fla. (WFLA/CNN) – The principal of a Miami area high school has issued an apology after parents became outraged when a live caged tiger made an appearance at senior prom.
Christopher Columbus High School had its senior prom over the weekend at the Double Tree Hilton at the Miami Airport Convention Center.
The prom had a jungle theme and it literally became wild when a caged tiger showed up.
Parent Maria Castellanos’ daughter attended that prom. She says she was concerned for the safety of the students and for the tiger.
“That tiger was in distress. The reason he’s pacing up and down, up and down, with his tail going and his ears all folded back, is showing you distress.”
Cell phone video posted online shows the tiger pacing in the cage as performers use fire to entertain the graduating class.
More pictures show different animals also on scene like birds used as centerpieces – and a parrot — all provided by a facility that said it is licensed by the FWC.
“First of all, we’re not teaching children empathy. And if there is no empathy and there is no consciousness,” said Castellanos. “These animals are not entertainment.”
Christopher Columbus High School Principal David Pugh released the following apology after the prom:
“Some individuals have expressed their sentiments about the use of animals as part of a performance at prom. We recognize this decision has offended some and for that we apologize. Although it was in a controlled environment and handled by professionals approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, we understand how some individuals may be concerned.
Moving forward, we will evaluate our current policies and procedures in the planning and management of school events, including the impact these events have on others. We all have learned a great deal from this experience.”
The school said there was also a lemur, two macaws and an African fennec fox at the event.