BWHS frosh debate stricter school security
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Big Walnut High School teachers Stacey O’Reilly and Angie Stooksbury and their freshman English students held the third annual freshman debate at the High School auditorium held on Friday, February 8.
“In light of recent events our students will be exploring the question: Will stricter safety measures keep schools safe?,” Stooksbury said. “Maintaining focus on our theme of the year: Be Informed, Be Involved, Take a Side, Take a Stand and integrating and implementing the common core standards, the debate process focuses on making learning relevant for our students.”
Stooksbury said of the high school’s 140 freshman English students, 32 had roles in the debate production. All freshmen had to write opening and closing remarks and held practice debates in class; and there were after school tryouts for parts in the formal debate.
Students on the Affirmative side were in favor of stricter security measures to keep schools safe learning environments; students on the Opposition side argued against stricter security measures in schools.
Students on the Affirmative side said simple, universal safety precautions always work — like locking doors at night and looking both ways before crossing the street.
“People with guns defend our president and our congressmen; banks and courts are all protected by men with guns,” they argued. “We defend our children with signs that say: Gun Free Zone, but it’s only a fair fight if criminals pay attention to the rules.”
They said the topics of armed guards and security cameras in school buildings make some people feel like a school is a prison, but that’s not so.
“These types of shootings can happen anytime and anyplace,” the Affirmative students argued. “A school shield program would throw blanket of protection around our children. Our children are the future leaders of our country. They deserve to be protected.”
Students sitting at the Opposition table said while tragedies like school shootings don’t happen often, they do happen.
“No matter how much security is in place it will not stop someone who is determined,” they said. “Can we guarantee safety if a killer is determined and is not going to be thwarted by metal detectors? We should be teaching our children, our future leaders, to be cautious.”
The Affirmative students said that not enough is being done in the United States to protect students in schools.
“There are multiple solutions to every problem, and security measures that are put in place must be practiced,” they said. “The question is, are we going to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep? When students are afraid about their safety they’re not learning. A school should be a safe haven. We cannot allow ourselves to be known as a school district that says we are vulnerable.”
In reply, the Opposition said it is fear that keeps us safe.
“William Shakespeare said the best safety lies in fear,” they said. “Are you willing to give up your rights for safety? The authorities are willing to take them.”
The students also quoted the late science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, who said: You can have peace, or you can have freedom, but don’t count on having both at the same time.
When the debate ended, judges retired to vote and on returning to the auditorium announced that the Opposition was selected as the 2013 Frosh Debate winning team.
“This debate is a culminating product of our students’ growth and achievement,” Stooksbury said. “Stacey and I are very proud of the hard work our students have put into preparing for this debate.”
Students arguing for the Affirmative were Kylie Stickrath, Gabe Swim, Madelyn Wecker, Haley Ferguson, Katheryn Byrn and Daniel Zitello. Arguing for the Opposition were Codie Muth, Erik Welch, Mackenzie Swank, Kaley Daniel, Emma Schenz, Kim Crislip and Alison Hager.
Sydney King and Andrew Wood served as debate moderators. Alexis Saa, Cheyenne Salazar, Colleen White, Miles Frisch, Alec Schnabel, Emily Branam, Hannah Sullivan, Lindy Carr, Michael Stanwick, Michael Sensi and Jacob Evans introduced the debaters.