A Real Tiger at a Prom Party — What’s Next for Entitled Kids?

The poor caged creature was part of the entertainment for a group of high school graduates

by Deirdre Reilly | Updated 15 May 2018 at 8:40 AM

Kids have little hope of making intelligent choices if adults around them don’t model thoughtful decisions. Such was the case at a Miami prep school prom, where a tiger in a cage — you read that right — was brought in for the amusement of the new graduates.

The theme of Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School prom was “Welcome to the Jungle,” reported an ABC affiliate in south Florida — and the adults decided to make that theme as literal as possible.

The event featured several animals, including a caged tiger, a lemur, two macaws, and a fox. The prom was held at a hotel near Miami International Airport.

The high school principal said he now regrets using live animals, including a caged tiger, as part of a jungle-themed prom.

"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."

One Baltimore-area woman was incredulous at the lengths the school went to for the kids.

"Back in my day, we were lucky to have refreshments and some streamers at prom," 53-year-old Carole Purcell told LifeZette. "To bring in exotic animals sounds kind of dangerous — and definitely unfair to the animals."

The story caught fire on social media after Mari-Cris Castellanos shared a post on Facebook; her brother attends the school. Her post included videos of the tiger pacing in its cage during the prom. (Her post has since been made private.)

"This poor tiger was used as an EXOTIC amusement for the mindless teenagers who were present," she wrote. "It is not the students' fault to be so naïve BUT it's the CCHS [Christopher Columbus High School] STAFF who arranged this event."

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A zoo professional agreed with her.

"This tiger's not celebrating. This tiger's not having a party," Ron Magill of Zoo Miami told ABC News. "This tiger is being stressed out."

Magill said he was shocked the school decided to do such a thing and "didn't know what they were thinking."

"It's not even walking," Magill said of the tiger, referring to a video of the animal taken during the prom. "It's going back and forth, back and forth; its tail is slashing back and forth; its ears are going into helicopter mode — all signs of distress."

The little fox brought to the dance reportedly was overhandled, too. "Boys and girls passed around a tiny African Fennec Fox like a corsage — though the fox hung rather limply in photos that have since been deleted from a school Instagram account," reported The Washington Post.

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In an interview with the NBC affiliate in Miami, the student's mother, Maria Del Carmen Castellanos, indicated that the thought — or lack of it — put into the decision reflected poorly on the adults. "Whoever booked this event, with its exotic entertainment, might have not realized the message they were sending to the children attending the prom."

Statements sent to multiple local outlets indicated that Christopher Columbus High School said the tiger was never in danger or forced to perform, and that handlers were with the animal at all times.

That doesn't mean the animal was well-treated, of course — and it doesn't mean this was a smart, safe decision on behalf of high school kids. These kids can only feel that much more entitled after being offered a mini safari of wild animals just to celebrate their high school graduation. Wow.

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor for LifeZette.

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