TUSD: Stop promoting animal cruelty; End 'Rodeo Holidays'

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Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) gives students two days off from school each February in order to attend the rodeo and participate in rodeo-related events and festivities. Rodeos abuse animals for entertainment with events like calf-roping, bull-riding and mutton busting. These abusive activities would never be tolerated if they were done to other types of animals, such as our beloved cats and dogs, and should not be tolerated in the case of ‘livestock’ animals either. Just because animals used in the rodeo are larger in size does not mean they deserve to be wrestled, wrangled and terrorized for entertainment. They are sentient beings who experience fear and pain just like any other animal. Further, endorsing this type of cruelty and bullying sends a very dangerous message to kids that it’s okay to dominate and perpetrate violence against innocent animals for fun.

This is not the Wild West and just because the rodeo has figured prominently in Tucson’s history does not make it right or mean that it should be allowed to continue. Teachers and school administrators should serve as role models to the kids and community of Tucson by promoting kindness and compassion to animals, not taking days off from school in order to celebrate bullying and abusing them. If TUSD needs a reason to have days off from school, how about devoting the days to volunteer work in order to make our world and communities better? Wouldn’t that be a much more educationally valuable message for our kids?

The rodeo is a wholly inappropriate reason to take days off from school and TUSD needs to get with the times and end this shameful and embarrassing observance.

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