The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
3 Points

Schools Should Give Detentions to Students for Speaking Their Mind

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 698 times Debate No: 68748
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the First Amendment wasn't thrown in there for nothing. People, including students, need to be able to express their opinions because though they are being controlled by adults, need to show how they feel for others to understand who they are. In the case Tinker v. Des Moines, the First Amendment was declared an emphasis of EVERYONE should be able to express themselves and show the world who they are, wether its words, a banner, a bracelet, a shirt, students' liberties are there, and should not be taken away.


First off, thank you to my opponent for starting this debate.

My opponent's main (and only) point is about the Bill of Rights. What he has forgotten, however, is that the First Amendment restricts CONGRESS. To quote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech..." [1] Unless I am greatly mistaken, Congress is not the same as schools. Secondly, the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not apply as much to minors. "all men are created equal..." [2]. In the case of Tinker vs. Des Moines, there was relativity to the Vietnam War, a bigger issue. Many cases of students speaking out in school are not bigger issues and can just be the student being rude. Also, they were wearing bracelets, which does not include SPEAKING one's mind. The BoP is on the con here, therefore my refutations are my arguments. However, I will add onto my case one point: schools should have the ability to give detentions. If schools have no way of punishment, what will they do when students are rude for them and deserve some sort of punishment. It's not really inhumane either. "Oh no, I have to sit and drum my fingers for a while! Whatever shall I do?" While it's still a form of punishment, it's still perfectly humane and often fits the crime.

1-US Constitution
2-US Declaration of Independence
Debate Round No. 1


To begin, I will deflect my opponents first argument. "No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." That quote is from Amendment 14 Section 1, and though schools are not Congress, they are part of the state. Prove me wrong, but the First Amendment is protection of the laws, and because teachers are not the highest position over the students, there isn't much anything teachers can do about it. Second, "In the case of Tinker vs. Des Moines, there was a relativity to the Vietnam War, a much bigger issue." I wish to claim that the previous statement by my opponents is hinting a false idea. 1. How big the issue is: irrelevant in the Supreme Court's decision. 2. Many less important cases have followed and sites that case. In protest of breast cancer, some girls got away with wearing bracelet that held an immature message: "I love boobies." Finally, "speaking your/their mind" is a common phrase. It means saying what you believe and is necessary to society. I don't think rude comments often fall into "saying what you believe" and never "is necessary to society."

I will give you the opportunity to do the next opening argument. I look forward to the results, and good luck!

US Constitution


I was confused by my opponent's quote from what he said was Amendment 14 Section 1. I am sure he is not telling me minors have the same rights as everyone else. There are truancy laws requiring students to be in school, they cannot live alone, etc. Any sensible person reading this knows that students do not have the same rights as adults. Is he proposing for this to change? Should a seven year old, in his opinion, be president? Should a child be able to sue his parent for taking away his video game? Of course not! Children's minds are still developing up to the age of 25 [1] and it is part of the teacher's job to ensure that they develop correctly. If you are raised thinking that you can talk whenever you feel like it, you'll be a jerk when you grow up, never get a job because you're too rude to the employer, and end up living on the street. That may be an exaggeration, but you see what I'm getting at. By the way, on the topic of being rude, I would like to provide an actual definition for speaking your mind. To speak one's mind is to to say what you think about something very directly. [2] It doesn't mean to "say what you believe and is necessary to society," as my opponent so boldly claimed. Therefore, it falls under speaking one's mind to be rude. To say, "well that's stupid, just like you," to the teacher is both extremely rude and speaking your mind. He said there have been smaller cases that have been brought to court than Tinker vs. Des Moines, but sometimes it would be ridiculous to do this, such as in the hypothetical situation I have just proposed. All he has been talking about is the big things like cancer and war. This, however, is not always reality.

1- BBC News
2- Cambridge Dictionary
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent seem to have completely misunderstood my argument. What I said was the 14th amendment protects minor's rights to speech. Law and parents, however, can do things about minor's actions. It is the parent's job to make sure that the child does not say anything rude or offensive, and as I said the importance of a matter does not matter to the supreme court once the case has been accepted. Only the case and the constitution. Teachers are by law forbidden to take away these freedoms, however can speak to the minor or the parent.

Just as clarification, I never said minors can do anything they want.

Here come my final arguments.

Every minor has a parent, foster home, foster parent, or any other type of guardian (or at least most do and the law says they need to). These parents/guardians are the ones responsible for the child's behavior. Detentions are simply saying "Do this or you get expelled," but sometimes students can't be expelled without parent permission. Suppose a minor wants to wear a T-shirt to spread awareness of the most minor thing and it goes to the supreme court or any court, the student will win (unless it is violent, threatening, gang-related, or any other obvious things). They are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments and protected for a reason.

In conclusion, most often, parents should have the responsibility of discipline on a disruptive minor.
Good Luck!


My opponent has misunderstood the meaning of the 14th amendment. The constitution does not apply entirely to minors, as I proved in my last argument and was ignored. He seems to think that only laws and parents can control children. I don't know where he got this, but it is false. What does he think a detention is? Teachers govern children 6 hours a day and are a major influence upon children. He said detentions just say "do this or you get expelled," but this too is false. Detentions say "don't do this."

1- I have proven detentions are just, lawful and fit the crime.
2- I have proven that students speKing their mind is often a bad thing. With these two things, Ihave proven the resolution true.
3- I have proven that teachers need to give punishments for students crimes.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by bat9581 3 years ago
Greener49 we already worked that out in the arguments.
Posted by Greener49 3 years ago
Speaking your mind is very veg , really speaking your mind could be swearing of to a J.K
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lexus 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con basically lost when he cited the first amendment. Pro proved that the first amendment is not applicable