Aquarium Pres/CEO Schubel Announces Plan w/ LBUSD Following Aquarium Break-In, Animal Deaths/Injuries In Which Juveniles Were ArrestedReturn To Front Page
(November 9, 2004) -- Speaking extemporaneously at the November 9, 2004 City Council meeting, Aquarium of the Pacific President/CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel announced that a plan is being implemented with the LB Unified School District following a break-in at the Aquarium of the Pacific's Shark Lagoon in which animals were killed and injured...and juveniles were arrested.
As separately reported by LBReport.com, two sharks and a ray died and other animals were injured during a break-in on Sunday night-Monday morning (Nov. 7-8)...and four juveniles were arrested the next night (Nov. 8) while allegedly trespassing at the Aquarium.
We post Dr. Schubel's extemporaneous announcement in full below:
Dr. Schubel: I know that most people here have heard about the terrible thing that happened to the Aquarium with the killing of two sharks and one ray. Sunday night, late, three kids broke in and killed these animals. They came back last night and they were apprehended by our security people and arrested by Long Beach city police. [applause]
Three 13 year-olds, and one 14 year old, and we've decided that we're going to turn this into something that will be good for the city.
And we've talked to [LBUSD Superintendent] Chris Steinhauser and next week we will be going into the middle schools in this city, having dialogues among these same 13 and 14 year olds asking them what they think and what could possibly make someone do these acts of cruelty.
And the end of the series will be a public meeting at the Aquarium where the 13 and 14 year olds in our school[s] will select the brightest and most thoughtful among them to be their spokespersons to speak to all of us as a community, and what we learn from this and whether there are more serious, deeply rooted problems that we need to be conscious of and thinking about.
So I hope that you will all come. I think it's a great example of how your Aquarium -- our staff, very quickly, remember this all just happened since the first ones, yesterday morning, were discovered and it's already in place with the Superintendent.
So it's a great pleasure and honor to be associated with your Aquarium. Thank you.
LBUSD Vice President Suja Lowenthal was also present and added:
LBUSD Board VP Lowenthal:...I just wanted to thank Jerry for being so open to making this a very teachable moment. I think it was very devastating for the city, but also for the school family and wanted to let each of you know that we are working with the Aquarium...
[W]e hope to very understanding and look at this as something that's not [the] end of the story. I think there'll be some intervention opportunities not just with these particular kids and families but with other children as well, so I want to thank Jerry for that.
Dr. Schubel separately noted that the Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth highest attended Aquarium in the U.S., the third highest attended cultural institution in the greater Los Angeles area behind the Getty museum and the L.A. zoo.
He added that "we're within 100,000 of those two [Getty & L.A. zoo] and in the spirit of having great confidence, we're going to knock them off within the next 18 months."
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