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

Service Learning hours are a from of slavery.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,082 times Debate No: 16585
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




I will Start with definitions to be used in this debate.

Service Learning: Service learning is a program in highschools, the program says that you must compleate a certain number of hours of volenteer work in order to graduate.

Slavery: Forced work

1st round is just for accepting.


I accept the defintions as listed.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

In my high school and I am sure others, service learning hours are something forced upon us students. Unlike homework however, service learning is a requirement to graduate, we need around 200 hours of community service, services are presented to us in and out of school. In school we are given homework projects such as finding out how many hazardous materials are in our house. Out of school a "Teen Court" is provided and we are to sit as the jury. Granted they give us ways to get these hours, it is not enough, homework projects are worth a measly 5 hours and are only given twice a year, the teen court is worth about 10-15 hours a visit but some students simply cannot make the trip to the court, they dont have the time or way to get there. This forces students to use their free time to "help out". It's wrong to force students to perform community service, some students simply do not have the time to get these hours because they are bogged down enough as is with school work. Students fail to graduate not based on poor academics but simply because they didn't have the needed number of hours. Service learning is not a legitamate academic program and should not be included as a requirment for graduation.


InquireTruth forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent had an emergency, I await the argument in the next round.


I would like to thank my opponent first for his graciousness and understanding. So far as I am concerned, he deserves the conduct point in this debate.

It is not Forced

My contention is pretty straightforward.

My opponent begins his round with the following statement:

"In my high school and I am sure others, service learning hours are something forced upon us students."

The definition of force according to is:


1. physical power or strength possessed by a living being
2. strength or power exerted upon an object; physical coercion;violence

It does not seem obvious or even at all clear how making service learning compulsory for graduation is a form of force, let alone slavery. But let us consider the different variations in which my opponent could be understanding the word force in his resolution:

Physically Forced

The definition of force is pretty consistent in its denotation of physical exertion. In order for it to be true, then, that students are being forced to do service learning, it would have to be shown that the schools teachers and administration are employing force to ensure their graduation requirements are being met.

Let us imagine for a second that this burden is fulfilled - namely that school staff are physically forcing students to comply to service learning requirements. Does it follow that this is a form of slavery? It does not seem clear that it is. So if there is some sort of hidden premise that my opponent has yet to share that makes this something other than a non sequitur, it would behoove him to share. A definition that makes physical force the only requirement of slavery renders parenting, policing, wrestling, boxing, and mixed martial arts all a form of slavery. But is that slavery? So far as I can see, slavery requires that a person be considered property of and completely subject to another person - this, of course, is not the same as physically forcing someone to meet compulsory graduation requirements. Namely because it could be easily avoided by, say, not going to school and pursuing a GED or getting your high school diploma through other education options.

Coerced - Verbal or Otherwise

My opponent states that students are required to use their free time to complete the imposed student learning requirements. But how is this relevantly different than homework, where even its name implies it would be done at home in one's free time? So far as I can see, it is not. So really the contention of my opponent suggests that not only is service learning a form of slavery, but any school requirement that consumes a students free time.

Perhaps then, this sort of graduation policy is a form of coercion, where students are authoritatively obliged or are compelled to do that which they do not want to do. Even if we were to grant this, how does this qualify as a form of slavery? Student's must meet certain requirements to achieve a certain goal. Student's are perfectly able (implies no force) to give up that goal and subsequently eliminate the need to fulfill said requirements. This is not similar to the plight of the slave, who has no goals that he may abandon in order to give up the yoke of bondage.


The biggest problem with my opponent's argument is that even if we grant all of its premises, it does not prove the resolution to be true. Force is not tantamount to slavery until it can be reasonably established otherwise. Moreover, all my opponent's premises are NOT true, rendering the argument both invalid and unsound.

Thanks again to my opponent, Heathen, I look forward to his forthcoming round.
Debate Round No. 3


I must admit that I was unaware of the literal definition of the word "force", when I used the word I meant it as meaning "to make someone do something". Not through only physical aggression, but to make the person perform an act they do not want to perform in order to gain something like a diploma.

My opponent said:

"My opponent states that students are required to use their free time to complete the imposed student learning requirements. But how is this relevantly different than homework"

This is different than homework because you do not need to actually do your homework in order to graduate, you could still pass without doing any homework what so ever. Service learning is an actual requirement for graduation, without it it is not actually possible to get the HS diploma. My opponent also talked about slaves, this is not so different, although the slaves weren't working to get a prize or any such thing, they were working in order to stay alive, if they did not work they would be beaten or killed. If a student does not perform service learning the student will ultimately fail. My opponent also talked about other forms of diplomas, such as the GED, that would be a way of getting past service learning but a GED isn't the same as an actual high school diploma. A diploma is more prestigious and better opportunities are opened up for the person with it. I am not aware of any other forms of getting a high school diploma other than going through school. So in order to get the best opportunities service learning is needed. Although abandoning the goal of the diploma is an option, for those that are driven enough not to quit, service learning is absolutely needed.

Thanks to my opponent, InquireTruth, for his argument.



I would like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this topic. Since I believe my point can be stated and affirmed with brevity, I will attempt to keep this last round relatively short.

Is It Force?

"when I used the word I meant it as meaning 'to make someone do something'. Not through only physical aggression, but to make the person perform an act they do not want to perform in order to gain something like a diploma."

Granting my opponent's use of the word force, what and how does someone make someone do something they wish not to do? So far as I can see, such a definition of force has not escaped the arguments of my previous round. In order to make another person do something they desire not to do, you must employ physical force or coercion. Since schools are not employing physical force or coercion, it necessarily follows that they are not forcing kids to participate in service learning hours.

Moreover, the latter part of the above cited quote renders virtually all human transactions as force. For instance, I do not WANT to pay my mortgage, but, unfortunately, it is a necessary thing that I must do in order to gain something, namely, my home. According to my opponent's logic, it necessarily follows that I am forced to pay my mortgage. Even worse, my mortgage would be considered a form of slavery.

The underlining problem is that choice remains rendering the notion of force impotent (pun intended). So long as any person - child or otherwise - has an alternative choice, like, say, to willingly NOT fulfill the graduation requirements by opting out of student learning hours, then the notion of force is illusory.

All my other points remain unshaken by my opponent's last round. Thank you.

Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Heathen 5 years ago
Its ok.
Posted by InquireTruth 5 years ago
Sorry about that. I'll def post my next round. Had a family emergency
Posted by gizmo1650 5 years ago
Who says you need to graduate?
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Define "force" and "work," or give me the green light to define them.
Posted by Aceviper2011 5 years ago
Also plus to what they are saying, some highschools do not even make that a requirement, there is no use to even debating this topic.

it is volunteer work, you choose or not choose to do it.

i would win this arguement hands down by the first round anyways, I am graduating on the 27 of this month and i did not have to have service learning hours at all. Plus allot of my peers also they did not have to get them hours at all they still graduating.
Posted by lovelife 5 years ago
inno, you get paid more by having a high school diploma than by not having one. So in the end it does pay off.
Plus more places will hire you if you have volunteer work done and are more apt to give raises, which is a two fold pay off.

(js, that it is also money that you get if you think about it)
Posted by innomen 5 years ago
If i wasn't so busy i'd take this. Could you not say that the requirement of attending class and performing to a certain level of competence be equal in burden? It is simply a requirement, or condition of graduation, so you are getting paid by getting your diploma, it's just not money.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for Con's forfeit of one round. Argument to Con.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: 1 pt pro forfiet, 1 pt novel debate, sweep for con on argument, total dismantle.