High School Debaters: Welcome to the Bigs

Earlier this month, more than 1,000 students piled into Youngstown's Boardman High for the state debate tournament, which took two 15-hour days to complete. All debaters dressed professionally, you know, to respect the decorum. The problem -- according to one debater, at least — was that the decorum wasn't exactly worthy of respect. The student says desks were plucked from classrooms so debates could be held in restrooms. And because school was in, those restrooms weren't closed. "Extreme awkwardness," says the student. Most Boardman students who entered the restrooms saw people sitting at desks, yelling at each other, and then left, says the student. But a few walked in, saw the yelling and continued right into a stall. They flushed the toilet, then walked out and washed their hands. Eric Simione, a Boardman teacher who organized the event, says the school just didn't have enough classrooms the first day, so they had to improvise. The complaint just shows the student's inexperience. At state and national tournaments debaters regularly compete in shower stalls, janitor's closets, and music practice rooms. "If they're going to continue to do this, they should get used to it," says Simione. "They're going to see it again." — Jason Nedley
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