The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Students should complete a community service requirement to graduate from high school.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 258 times Debate No: 93042
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




Some rules:

-First round is acceptance only.

-No semantics or ad hominem attacks.

-Use actual evidence and cite sources please.

-Have fun!

A couple other things about my speeches:

-If anyone doesn't know, a contention is another word for point or assertion, I will be using this word in my speeches. Also, c means contention as well (like if I say C1 it means Contention 1).

-Also, a criterion (also called standard) is something which the judge chooses who wins the debate by, it is part of framework. For example, if the criterion is health (and both sides accept this criterion), then all arguments that don't involve health are invalid, because the judge, or in this case the voters, are only focusing on health.

-Lastly, if, at any time, I say "we", "our", or similar words in my speech, it means my team, which in this case is just myself (sorry, used to typing out cases for a team of multiple people).



In school its all about you (the students). From day one it has always been about you getting good grades, you making friends, you being popular. While those things are nice, they are not what life is about. When students or most people for that matter are asked "What do you love to do" normally it is something that benefits them. What the really love is the emotion of joy. The idea that material or self service will satisfy them. What most fail to understand is that there is joy in serving. While it is good to take care of yourself, serving others is important in teaching students about life. Students must understand that there is more to life than themselves. One feels deep fulfillment when they serve and give to others. There is a saying "you reap what you sow". When we see and give joy to others it seemingly gives joy to us.
Debate Round No. 1


I am going to present my contentions (points) and then refute what my opponent has said.

C1: Required community service violates human rights.

Now, let me explain how this works. So, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, we have compulsory education in most of the U.S.’ states, meaning you have to attend school for a certain amount of time. If there were to be required community service, this would mean that students would have to do community service (because they have to go to school). Now imagine you are a student who doesn’t want to do this community service, but where you live there is compulsory education, and there is also required community service, so you have to. This is called involuntary servitude; you don’t want to do these services, but you must. Now let’s take a look at Constitution, the document in which our country was founded upon. In section one of the 13th amendment, it says “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” I think you all can now understand why this violates human rights - required community service is legally slavery, as stated in the 13th amendment.

I don’t think we need to explain in depth about the impact of the violation of humans rights caused by required community service, because it’s pretty similar to original slavery. It degrades and exploits students, it threatens students by taking away one of the biggest parts of their early lives if they don’t do what they’re told, and it overall increases unhappiness within the school environment. So not only would this a violation of the constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it is also just in general a horrible way to try and get students to contribute.

C2: Putting a requirement on community service does the opposite of it’s intended purpose.
Sure, putting a requirement on community service may help students do more of it at first, but in the long term the requirement actually makes high schoolers less likely to do service. In Maryland, a study was done by the organization Economics by Education Review, and was led by Sara E. Helms, an assistant professor at Samford University. The study looked over required community service in Maryland, and found that it actually decreased volunteering among older students, leading to a loss in long term volunteering.

"If this is for school, how do we know [students] are considering this as community service, rather than just homework for school?" says Helms. "We are substituting this [requirement] for being self-motivated.”

So in reality, students are less likely to volunteer in high school if it is required, as well as being less likely to volunteer in later life because they see it as some form on homework.

Now I am going to refute what my opponent has said, which is that community service can make us feel better about ourselves and happier in general. Before I say my responses I would like to say that I agree that community service is beneficial, but putting a requirement on it for high schoolers is not the way to go. So now on to my responses, I have two:

First, community service by itself may make us feel joyful, but making it required completely takes the joy out of it. As I explained in my contention 1, required community service in high school is legally slavery in many states of the U.S. Do you think that these students who don't have time to do community service because they have other things to do (like working) are going to be happy when they can't graduate because they were trying to feed themselves and their family?

Second, when it is forced, community service does two things - it takes the meaning out of it (you feel like you are being made to do this, not that you chose to help society), and it actually reduces the amount of service done, as I explained in contention 2. Also, when it is not self-motivated, students often have bad experiences with community service, meaning theythey won't do it in their later lives because they don't feel good about doing it anymore.

So I hope you all are convinced that required community service for high schoolers to graduate is much more detrimental than beneficial. Remember this - as I have proven in this speech, required community service is a dillemna for students: meaningless if they do it, destructive if they don't. Thank you all, and vote Con!



There are various community service outreaches. Like any subject in school, you may enjoy it or you may dread it and feel like it is a burden to you. Take the subject of math for example and compare it to community service. There are various areas of community service just like there are many areas of mathematics. There is algebra, geometry trigonometry, calculus and many other areas of math. In the same way community service has many areas. One could help the community by feeding the poor, picking up trash in the neighborhood and many other things. Some people hate geometry but love algebra in the same way that some people love helping the homeless but feel like it is a burden to pick up the trash. Different areas are for different people. Given some people will probably not benefit from the service projects in the community, that does not give a sufficient response as to why the entire idea should be taken away. One can not please everybody. some will benefit and some will not benefit. In response to what my opponent said about community service being in equivalent to slavery, I have a few words to say. People treated like dogs. They were not treated like human beings. Is then a student doing math or science that he/she does not enjoy also considered slavery? It is also considered involuntary. You see just because one does not want to do it does not make it unbenneficial. Involuntary community service can by no means be compared to original slavery. The standard my opponent uses for community service being equivalent to slavery and a violation of human rights is not being used in all aspects (would you use the same standard for whether or not one would like to do math or science in school). Does not math or science or anything the students don't like change the atmosphere in a school? The example my opponent gave about a student who has to feed his family is a specific case. The entire school does not have that situation. One can not base the entire decision on specific cases. I hope I have convinced you well enough. Vote for Pro.
Debate Round No. 2


In this speech I am going to refute what my opponent has said. They basically talk about two things, so I will respond to them in the order they are said.

First, my opponent says that "given some people will probably not benefit from the service projects in the community, that does not give a sufficient response as to why the entire idea should be taken away. One can not please everybody. some will benefit and some will not benefit". See my opponent is saying that just because one person doesn't like community service doesn't mean it should be taken away, but this isn't the case. I am not arguing that there should be no community service, but rather that community service should not be forced on students in high school to graduate. What I am saying is that service should be voluntary, not required to graduate. If somebody wants to do service, they are free to, but if somebody doesn't want to, they shouldn't be forced.

Second, my opponent asks if I would "use the same standard for whether or not one would like to do math or science in school". And no, I wouldn't use the same standard. If you look at the 13th amendment (which is what I mentioned) it says "involuntary SERVITUDE". Community service is "servitude" (you are doing services), math and science are not (you are not doing services). This means that required community service violates the 13th amendment, but math and science do not. These do not fall under the same category, and do not violate the constitution, but required community service does.

Hopefully you all see that I have successfully refuted my opponent's arguments. Vote Con if you don't want to violate the constitution and don't want to reduce the amount of community service done. Thank you.


Life is full of many opportunities. Serving is one of them. Just like most things in this world, they don't start out fun and enjoyable. Take sports for example. When you first begin to train you don't like it at all. It is tedious and often we don't want to do it. In the same way, when we first start to serve it isn't great. It isn't particularly enjoyable. Yet I have to return to my first point and that is that serving brings you to a point beyond yourself. It brings you to the idea that maybe this whole world isn't all about you. Maybe there is more to life than yourself. Not only are there health benefits to serving it broadens your worldview. There is more to life than just you. Given if this is carried out incorrectly it CAN have negative effects but like most things if it is lead well and wisely it can have lasting effects on the students. Students would begin to realize just how much they actually have (education, a home etc.). Serving in schools can change lives. Now like I said and was quoted on before some will like it some will not. I am not talking about serving outside the schools. That is a different case. Sometimes we have to do things we don't enjoy or like so as to get to a better place. Once students are in the habit of serving (which is not a form of slavery) they will begin to serve more and begin to enjoy it. Like many things in life they start out unenjoyable but become better and better as they mature and grow. There are benefits to serving while there are no benefits to being a slave. It is incomparable. Serving has benefits in schools in terms of getting scholarships for college and getting into colleges. The biggest thing though is that serving in schools can broaden peoples mindsets and worldviews. The way one goes about doing this will indeed change the experience of the student.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Janerover 3 months ago
Having performed hundreds of hours of community work, I feel the need to make a contribution.

There are many activities that define 'community service', from feeding the homeless, working in animal shelters, providing first aid, et etc. Some can be quite confronting, to be frank. I'm not sure many High School students have the emotional resilience to volunteer at a Homeless shelter.

This experience is a gift, not a punishment, and some students just aren't ready to receive.
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