The “Blackfish Effect” has spread far and wide, opening the eyes of animal lovers, actors, and musicians. Now, it has an entire school on board with boycotting SeaWorld.
Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School in Malibu, California, has a tradition of sending their fifth-grade class on an annual overnight spring trip to SeaWorld. Or, I should say, had. After 10-year-old Point Dume student, Kirra Kotier, watched the documentary, “Blackfish,” the typically “very shy” young girl was determined to never return to SeaWorld. According to Kirra’s father, Kirby, the animal-loving student started a word-of-mouth campaign to get the annual trip’s destination changed to someplace other than SeaWorld. More kids were on board, and parents, too. Concerned parents were the ones to first bring the issue to the school’s principal, Rebecca Johnson, which prompted her to cancel the trip to SeaWorld and search an alternate destination.
“My decision was guided by what was the best thing for all my students,” Johnson said.
One parent, Dianette Wells, who has three children attending Point Dume, is pleased with the trip’s cancellation. She said, “I am very proud that the school did the right thing. I hope it’s not just a one-year, knee-jerk reaction. I hope they truly understand how wrong it is that these whales are in captivity, and none of us should be paying money to see that.”
SeaWorld’s Communications Director, David Koontz (who must dread answering the phone or checking email these days) said that the school’s cancellation is unprecedented. “It’s disappointing that this year’s class [from Point Dume] will not be participating because of the film,” said Koontz in an emailed statement. “This is the only instance of a camp cancellation that we’ve experienced.”
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