SAN DIEGO - A Poway Unified high school student is leading the charge to get prom moved away from SeaWorld San Diego.
"They were just like, 'Hey, our prom's at SeaWorld … I'm still going to go but I really don't feel good about going,'" said student Zach Affolter, referring to some friends who attend Mt. Carmel High School.
The 17-year-old Westview High School junior has set up an online petition on change.org with hopes to get the Mt. Carmel High School prom moved away from SeaWorld San Diego. Realistically, he acknowledges to 10News that it is probably too late.
"There shouldn't be field trips to SeaWorld. There shouldn't be proms to SeaWorld," he added.
Mt. Carmel's junior and senior prom is scheduled for May 31.
Since setting up the petition last Sunday, Affolter has had more than 500 people sign it, adults and students alike.
He wrote in his petition, "We don't want to shut SeaWorld down. We want SeaWorld to stop their breeding program and release all captive cetaceans into enclosed sea pens."
"Keeping cetaceans in a small concrete box isn't educational compared to like seeing them in the wild," Affolter told 10News.
10News contacted SeaWorld San Diego about the online petition and was told:
"There is no organization more passionately committed to the physical, mental and social care and well-being of all of animals than SeaWorld. We encourage everyone to get the facts at www.SeaWorld.com/Truth and www.SeaWorldCares.com. Over the past 50 years, more than 9 million students have participated in our formal education programs not only seeing firsthand the high quality of care our animals receive, but also gaining a greater appreciation for wildlife and wild places. The real advocates for animals are the trainers, aviculturists, animal-care staff and veterinarians at SeaWorld."
10News also contacted the Poway Unified School District which said:
"The selection of the location of a school site’s prom is made by the student body itself. Each spring, the Junior Class Council and Commissioners select the location for the following year's (their upcoming Senior Year) prom.
Therefore, the location is not a matter involving school site or district administration.
PUSD supports our students' First Amendment rights to express their viewpoints and voice their concerns over this and any other topic."