[Ndca-l] Issues concerning the high school community

Robb Gray firstpacific
Wed Dec 18 16:20:56 EST 2013

I believe it should be limited to the forum it started in. No one should
have to wonder where else it might appear. That said: we should all realize
that anything we put in writing will probably become public, unfortunately.
Best Regards, Robb Gray


I will be taking some time off during the hollidays'. My last day in the
office will be December 20th. I will be back in the office December 30th and
for a half day on December 31st. Back in the office on January 2nd.


From: ndca-l-bounces at lists.debatecoaches.org
[mailto:ndca-l-bounces at lists.debatecoaches.org] On Behalf Of Stefan
Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:06 AM
To: John M. Masslon II
Cc: ndca-l at lists.debatecoaches.org
Subject: Re: [Ndca-l] Issues concerning the high school community


I like the fact that this conversation is occurring on email because this
listserv is, I believe, limited to debate coaches. I think people are more
likely to speak what is on their minds than if this discussion is moved to a
public message board.


Also, I'm a bit sensitive to coaches airing all of their disagreements
(which is important to do) in front of all of the students.


I'm curious as to what others think.


On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM, John M. Masslon II <johnmasslon at gmail.com>

I think this is by far the most pressing issue facing HS debate at the
moment and am glad to see that a discussion has begun regarding our
community's response.  I wish I could be as eloquent and thorough as Manuel,
Stefan, Aaron, Tara, et al, but I know that will not happen.  I would,
however, like to add a few of my thoughts on the subject.   

First, I think we need to begin is by looking in the mirror.  I believe that
many of the problems that have occurred in college debate are the result of
coaches pushing the unethical, and in some cases illegal, behavior by their
students.  We only need to look as far as the CEDA quarterfinal round a few
years ago to see that we, as coaches, are the ones that act in a manner that
makes debate a hostile environment for fellow coaches and our students.
This is unacceptable.  I believe that the first step we should take in
ensuring that there is no bullying, harassment, etc. by our students is to
take forceful action against coaches that promote such behavior.  


I know this will not be a popular sentiment, but I think we need to ban
coaches who promote such behavior.  I run the tab room at the biggest HS
tournament in Western Pennsylvania, and I would never allow Shanara
Reid-Brinkley to step foot in a debate at my tournament.  If she chose to
coach a HS team, I would not allow that team to be entered in the
tournament.  The same would hold true for Bill Shanahan.  By eliminating
coaches that act in such a manner from our activity, we ensure that these
our students are not being influenced by such bad examples.  We set a
precedent for our students that if you act in a manner that is inconsistent
with the behavioral norms of debate, you are gone.  Thus, let us begin by
looking in the mirror.


I also think that it is important that we ensure that students who violate
the norms of acceptable behavior at debate tournaments are punished
accordingly.  For example, if a student tells his/her opponent in a round
that they should kill themselves . that student should be done with HS
debate.  That student's coach should be the one to enforce such a rule,
however, that is probably unrealistic.  Instead, I think that if a student
behaves in such a manner at a tournament, the tournament director should
inform all other tournament directors to not accept that student into future
tournaments.  That way, a student knows that if their actions fall so far
outside the bounds of acceptable behavior, they will no longer be permitted
to participate in this great activity.  


Finally, I think that the tabula rasa paradigm has gone to far.  I have
traditionally been a fan of "anything goes" debate and have voted for
"performance" teams more than I have voted against such teams.  However,
after what we have seen in college debate recently, I have decided that
enough is enough.  I have decided that I will no longer vote for such a team
and will give them 0 speaks.  I hope that this stops the spread of what has
killed college debate into the HS realm.  I'm not naive enough to think that
my one person stand will have such an impact, but I hope that after the
inevitable collapse of college debate, more people will realize we need to
return to a more traditional style of debate.  This does not mean that we
need to get rid of critical arguments, it just means that such arguments
need to be made in the context of the resolution.  


* The views expressed above are my own and do not reflect the views of
Bethel Parks SD, Bethel Park SHS, or my employer.  


John M. Masslon II, Esq. 

Policy Debate Coach, Bethel Park SHS

phone: 703-791-9483
fax: 866-241-5219
e-mail: johnmasslon at gmail.com


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Stefan Bauschard

Debate Coach, Harvard Debate
Debate Coach, Lakeland Schools
International Programs Consultant, National Forensic League (US)
Consultant, National Forensic League of Korea (ROK)
Consultant, Dipont Education Management (China)

(C) 781-775-0433
(F) 617-588-0283

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