Make speech and debate accessible

Make speech and debate accessible

241 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
Petition to
National Speech And Debate Association

Why this petition matters


American high school speech and debate is an incredibly valuable activity that teaches communication, provides education, and helps kids get into college. However, it is notably inaccessible for disabled participants. 1AC-CESSIBILITY believes that speech and debate governing bodies such as the National Speech and Debate Association could do a lot more to make the activity accessible for its disabled participants. 

On a structural, formal level, there are improvements to be made. Our vision for change includes but is not limited to: (1) Creation of a universal, standardized system for requesting and implementing requests for accommodation(s), (2)  Universal protection for a more flexible round related time constraints such as forfeit time, prep time, and speech time, (3) Implementation and advertisement of a system for reporting incidents at tournaments relating to ableism, other forms of discrimination, and violence, (4) Education of tournament staff on accessibility, (5) allowing participants to sit while giving speeches (6) larger breaks at tournaments and better food that accommodates to dietary restrictions (7) ending nuisance fees. 

Many norms within the activity of speech and debate are inaccessible. Our suggestions for change include: (1) Ending the culture around casually demeaning other participants, (2) Judges should take an active role in supporting and facilitating safe, accessible, inclusive rounds so that they can be enjoyed by everyone, (3) Taking care of our physical, mental, emotional health should be valued.

Sign this petition to affirm that speech and debate organizations needs to listen to disabled voices and put substantial effort into reforming their practices, both informal and formal, to be more accessible for disabled participants. 

To become part of the conversation, let us know your thoughts on how speech and debate can improve here:

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241 have signed. Let’s get to 500!