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AlexyzHarmon
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Itsallovernow
Pro (for)
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Community Service a Requirement for High School Graduation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/16/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,894 times Debate No: 18825
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AlexyzHarmon

Con

Sorry if I'm doing this a little wrong. This is actually a paper I wrote for my AP Comp class, wanted to see what you guys could argue against it. This is my first time on Debate.org. :)

In high school, we often do assignments not because we want to learn more about the subject but because we "have to". Another example of required assignments we have to do in our school district is community service, doing non-profit work that gives back to the community. High school teachers often force their students to turn in papers, in which then they forget what they had written about in the first place. Why must we, then, require community service? Teachers, especially, can tell when a student has written up a paper at the last second with no motivation. Their tone of voice sounds bored and forced, and there is little chance that the student has learned anything they will remember as an adult. Just like the assignments they're given in class, students may not put their heart into doing community service projects if forced to do so. The will to do community service should come from the kindness of a student's heart.
Many students, when asked about doing community service, associate it with a judge-assigned punishment. A shoplifter may be assigned community service only to fulfill a graduation requirement they already required to do. Community service as a punishment is a great way to impact the lives of teenagers who are getting out of hand. However, expecting high-school students to do the same work as juvenile criminals makes them feel like the school is punishing them. A student who does community service out of their own heart will be much more likely to feel the affects of their work to the community than someone who was required to do so by the school or by a judge's decision.
The schools requiring community service as a graduation requirement could be argued to be unconstitutional. In one case, Steirer v. Bethlehem Area School District, sixty hours of unpaid service during the high school years was required with a written assignment. Doing so, the student will receive course credit but will not graduate otherwise. Lynn Steirer B, a student at Bethlehem's Liberty High School, volunteered from the heart, not from her school's requirement, and believed that it was unconstitutional to be required(Parr). Thirteenth Amendment states that "...involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction"(Our Documents). However, the courts argued, in order for the practice to be unconstitutional, the district would have to legally or physically punish students who decline to participate. It was also argued in court that the First Amendment, the right to free speech, was being violated. They believed required community service expects students to have specific beliefs. The courts rejected the Free Speech argument because the students could either choose to participate in the district's programs or design their own (Parr). Our school district and the Oregon Department of Education has surprisingly little information on community service requirements. The fact that community service is needed to graduate is not even stated in the school's handbook. This may give impression that this is because of the controversy of the issue.
Many argue that influencing children to do community service projects should be the responsibility of the student's parents, not the schools. Parents often take on the roll of disciplinary actions and teaching morals, so why should the schools tell students that they need to fulfill this requirement? However, parents may not be the best role models in our lives, and teacher motivation is always important. Parents, however, control what we may or may not do, and some students do not have the freedom or time to do volunteer work. A lot of teenagers deal with working, hard classes, and unsatisfactory home situations that may cause them to be unable to volunteer. The opportunity to do volunteering should be aided by the school, however, so that students in hard situations can still get to do volunteering if they wish to.
However, having community service as a senior project is arguably more influential and life-changing than a 5-page paper that you may never again remember writing. Hands-on learning is more effective for many students. Studies show that requiring community service definably has positive results among the student population. Community service and success later in life is most definably a trend. Those who are educationally successful believe that volunteering is a fit requirement for graduation(The Language of Composition, 81). Having community service in your record helps you get accepted into colleges. It also prepares you for learning what a real job feels like, working with people who do what you are doing every single day for a living. Community service helps students learn the importance of being responsible. Students realize from community service the importance of being a citizen, being part of the community, and realizing that some people have less than they do in the world. Also, for a lot of students, it's a good feeling to be able to work along-side people who are trying to achieve a goal together to make the community a better place. Their is no argument that community service is helpful a student whether or not it is requirement.
Community service should not be required in schools, but rather, students should be motivated in order to make their own positive experiences. Teachers should emphasize the importance of community and volunteering in the classroom, but the choice to volunteer should be left to the students. The importance of volunteering to your future should be stressed, but the actual hours and what the student does should be left up to the individual. The choice to volunteer should be inspired out of the kindness of a student's own heart. When it isn't required for students to do so, one out of six 12 to 17 year old students choose to volunteer on their own (Sauerwein, 29).

References
Parr, Jessica. "Mandatory Community Service." Wright House: Frank Lloyd, Orville and Wilbur, Steven... University of Maryland at College Park. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.wright-house.com...;.
Sauerwein, Kristina. A compelling case for volunteers. The American School Board Journal 183.3 (1996): 29-31.
"Our Documents" OurDocuments.gov. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.ourdocuments.gov...;.
Shea, Renee H., Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin D. Aufses. The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. [S.l.]: Bedford, Freeman & Worth, 2008. Print.
Itsallovernow

Pro

My opponent states, "students may not put their heart into doing community service projects if forced to do so. The will to do community service should come from the kindness of a student's heart." But contradicts himself by later saying "Community service as a punishment is a great way to impact the lives of teenagers who are getting out of hand."

My opponent does not seem to know quite what to do with community service. Community service in high school is an interactive way for students to realize that they can have a place in the world and get a taste of what it's really like. Feeding the homeless, cleaning the enviornment- all these are constructive ways. If they can see what it's like to be homeless then maybe they will work hard and pay off their debts. If they clean the enviorment then maybe they'll realize how important the world we live in is. Many schools also offer extracurricular assignments, such as JROTC functions, to support community service.

If a student does not want to do something constructive or they do not wish to learn, that is their choice. A teacher can not make them. Their only job is to appear at school, and it is the teacher's job to teach. If the student does not follow the path to success it is their own fault, but it's the school's responsibility to do all they can to help them. It is good for the student and helps them on the road to adulthood. As an adult, there are things that we don't want to do, but we have to. It's to enhance our standard of living.

If they feel it is a punishment, it is irrational of the student. If they are feeding the homeless or collecting donations, maybe they would see that there are harder things in life than giving a hungry person food. Furthermore, children in juvy do work to teach them to get on the right track. Doing community service is about teaching kindness, realizing what's in the world and what's important. It is not a punishment, even for juvinile children. It is so they can open their eyes to the real hardships in the world, and it is to teach them to take action in their community to create a better civilization because they are the future of the world.

I feel my opponent arguments of it being unconstitutional and a violation is invalid. He has voided those points by stating that it is still allowed in government, thusly constitutional.

My opponent states, "Community service and success later in life is most definably a trend. Those who are educationally successful believe that volunteering is a fit requirement for graduation(The Language of Composition, 81). Having community service in your record helps you get accepted into colleges. It also prepares you for learning what a real job feels like, working with people who do what you are doing every single day for a living. Community service helps students learn the importance of being responsible. Students realize from community service the importance of being a citizen, being part of the community, and realizing that some people have less than they do in the world. Also, for a lot of students, it's a good feeling to be able to work along-side people who are trying to achieve a goal together to make the community a better place. Their is no argument that community service is helpful a student whether or not it is requirement.
Community service should not be required in schools, but rather, students should be motivated in order to make their own positive experiences"

The very first line is exactly the basis of every mission statement of every school in the USA. It is to help them be successful. My opponent completely supports my case with this argument by stating that community service is for the better, but it should be choice for children. It is not for children to decide. It is our responsibilities as adults to know what's best for the children. A child can not be motivated to do something that you know is good unless you expose them to that good.

For these reasons, I heavily urge you to vote PRO.

(Off the record and on a personal note: Students in my school felt like PE was forced and they refused to do it. Really? It's a whole period of playing basketball, walking, or pretty much the only period you could be on your cell phones! Anything good given will be bad. Lunch isn't long enough, we need more pep assemblys, etc.)
Debate Round No. 1
AlexyzHarmon

Con

AlexyzHarmon forfeited this round.
Itsallovernow

Pro

Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
AlexyzHarmon

Con

AlexyzHarmon forfeited this round.
Itsallovernow

Pro

Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 11 months ago
Ragnar
AlexyzHarmonItsallovernowTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FAIL DEBATE, as both sides dropped out... (checking the voting period debates, from Least To Most votes. By giving this one, it won't be prioritized in the system anymore.)