A Catholic School in Florida Had a Caged Tiger at Its Jungle-Themed Prom and WTF?

Fire-eaters are shown performing in front of a tiger’s cage at Christopher Columbus High School’s jungle-themed prom.
Fire-eaters are shown performing in front of a tiger’s cage at Christopher Columbus High School’s jungle-themed prom.
Screenshot: NBC Miami

Florida strikes again. Like, seriously, the water in the state has to be different, because I am not sure what would possess any school to bring wild animals to its prom.


But apparently that’s what happened at Christopher Columbus High School (that name, though) during the Miami private Catholic school’s prom on Friday night.

And it wasn’t just the tiger; organizers for the prom also presented a lemur, two macaws and a fennec fox for the jungle-themed dance.

Mari-Cristine Castellanos, whose brother apparently attends the school, slammed the incident as animal abuse, sharing footage of the seemingly stressed-out tiger pacing in its cage amid the blaring music and flashing lights, according to NBC Miami.

“How shameful for Christopher Columbus High school ... showing its students on prom night who is the ‘king of the jungle.’ This poor tiger was used as an EXOTIC amusement for the mindless teenagers who were present, it is not the student[s’] fault to be so naive BUT it’s the CCHS STAFF who arranged this event, therefore they are responsible for this tiger’s misery,” Castellanos wrote.

However, the school initially dismissed outrage, saying that the animals were displayed in a “very controlled situation” and were provided by facilities licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“The tiger, which was displayed for a few minutes in a cage, was never harmed or in danger, was not forced to perform, was always accompanied by his handlers, and for the great majority of the time was lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience,” the school insisted, noting that two Miami-Dade police officers were present throughout the event.


What I want to know, however, is what kind of insurance this fancy school actually has. Because I understand that in the administrators’ heads, they probably believe that they took all the necessary precautions. But I am a Murphy’s Law type of gal. I know that shit happens, and I know that a tiger is a wild animal that is very strong, very fast and very unpredictable, and better off admired from a distance.

Suppose something had happened and the tiger had somehow gotten loose.

Suppose some idiot student managed to worm his way around whatever precautions and stuck his hand in the tiger’s cage.


In general, WHY was it necessary to have animals at a prom with hundreds of screaming teenagers, just to land a theme? That’s what the internet and photos and videos and projectors are for.

Man, they really do some wild shit down in Florida.

On Sunday, after the widespread backlash, the school released another statement, apologizing to all those offended by the display.


“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,” the statement read. “We all have learned a great deal from this experience.”

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi


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More, from the WaPo article:

A live lemur and macaw were incorporated into the spectacle to serve as props for the students’ take-home photos. 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.

Fuck these people.