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Prom Entertainment Included a Caged Tiger. It is Not Going Over Well

SourceA prom night for teenagers in Miami turned wild when organizers invited a surprise guest to the dance floor — a fully grown tiger.

“Welcome to the Jungle” was the theme of this year’s Christopher Columbus High School prom, held Friday night at the DoubleTree Hotel at the Miami International Airport.

But the party took a strange turn when a handler wheeled out a caged tiger.

The bizarre choice of entertainment left a sister of one of the students who attends the all-boys Roman Catholic High School aghast.

“My mom doesn’t appreciate that she spent $200 for prom and got this type of attraction,” the student’s sister, Marie-Christine Castellanos, said. … “He’s nothing more than an object that people used to amuse themselves in exchange for money,” she added. …

Afterward, the school stated that the wildlife was overseen the whole time by a Florida-licensed facility.

The school also released a statement to ABC station Local 10 defending the wild animal entertainment.

“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 laying down in a relaxed state, facing away from the audience,” it read.

I don’t want to overstate the level of outrage directed at the school for this stunt. I checked no less than a dozen news sites and they all just quote this same sister of this Christopher Columbus High kid. But I have to assume she’s not alone. I mean, it’s only  a matter of time before the animal rights group bring the full power of their furious anger to bear on whomever signed off on this. And probably heads will roll.

Regardless, if ever there was a perfect example of how the people who run high schools are out of touch with the people they’re supposed to educate, this might be it. If I was an 18-year-old prom goer, would I want see a real live tiger at prom? You’re goddamned right I would. It would be mind-blowingly awesome. At any time in human history before say 10 years ago. But times have changed, and not necessarily for the worse.

We live in a post-Cecil the Lion, post-Harambe world. A world where just in the last few years we saw Blackfish put Sea World out of business and Ringling Brothers shut down because no one’s entertained by seeing Earth’s most magnificent creatures tortured and penned up. Even for a prom night suprise. I doubt there are too many teenagers in 2018 America saying “Behold this noble and powerful beast! What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry? How awe-inspiring it is to see this wondrous animal up close! Trapped in a steel playpen. As part of a carny show. And … acting kind of terrified.”

That use to pass as entertainment. But then again, so did circus freaks. Maybe 100 years ago, prom committees would wheel out conjoined twins and a kid with flippers for hands to make the night more fun, but not any more. And using this majestic apex predator as party entertainment just has the feel of an unfrozen Dr. Evil wanting fricking sharks with fricking lasers on their heads and not understanding that they’re protected species now.

So yes, a big swing and a miss by the CCHS administrators for failing to read the 2018 room. Next time you do a “Welcome to the Jungle” theme, it would go ever better if you had Axel Rose or Slash wheeled out in a cage. Tigers as props is just so 1980s.

 @jerrythornton1