Membership Expectations

School Expectations

  • Judge Responsibilities. Each school is responsible to bring 1 judge per 5 students. So if you have a team of 20 students, you should bring at least 4 judges. If you have.a team of 4 students, you are only responsible for bringing 1 judge. The Coach/Teacher/Chaperone can be a judge. Most schools will recruit parents and/or high school debaters. Judges do not need to have speech/debate experience. We have a Judge Training Workshop at each Tournament. There is a $50.00 fee per judge for schools that do not bring their quota of judges because we have to hire judges. If you have any issues with recruiting judges please let us know so we can help! 


  • Permission Slips. All Parents/Guardians must complete a Permission Slip for their child to participate in all events of the Speech & Debate League. Students cannot participate in our events without a Permission Slip. You can find the Student Permission Slip on our website. The Permission Slip covers all events for the year so Parents/Guardians only need to complete once a year. 


  • Chaperoning. Schools and institutions must have an on-site coach or chaperone at all times during our events. 


  • Conduct Policy.  Our tournaments are first and foremost safe educational experiences. All representatives of the school (teacher, coach, students, parents, etc) should strive to set an example of the highest ethical conduct. Public criticism, disrespectful behavior or other unlawful behavior is prohibited. Any complaints should be made to Tournament Staff only. All Tournament participants should uphold NYC Department of Education policies and at all times abide by all local, state, and federal laws. 

Coaches Code of Ethics

(excerpted from the National Speech and Debate Association,


The function of a coach is to educate students through participation in speech and debate. Students should be treated with the utmost respect, and their welfare should be considered in decisions by coaches at all times.

  • Coaches shall be aware that they have a tremendous influence, for either good or ill, on the education of their students and, thus, shall never place the value of winning above the value of instilling the highest ideals of character.

  • Coaches shall practice integrity by upholding the honor and dignity of our profession. In all personal contact with students, judges, tournament officials, activities directors, school administrators, other coaches, the media, and the public, coaches shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct.

  • Coaches shall take an active role in the prevention of student drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse.

  • Coaches shall be expected to uphold their school’s policy in regards to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use when in contact with students.

  • Coaches shall strive to understand the contest rules and to teach them to their students. Coaches shall not seek an advantage by circumvention of the spirit or letter of the rules.

  • Coaches shall exert their influence to enhance sportsmanship and fair-play by competitors and other coaches.

  • Coaches shall respect and support tournament officials. Coaches shall not indulge in conduct that would incite other coaches or students against tournament officials. Public criticism of tournament officials, other coaches, or students is unethical.

  • Coaches shall set the correct tone for a tournament or competition.

Student Code of Honor

(excerpted from the National Speech and Debate Association,

“As a member of the Elementary School Speech & Debate League, I pledge to uphold the highest standards of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service in the pursuit of excellence.”

Integrity: An Honor Society member obeys the highest ethical standards and adheres to the rules of the organization. Members recognize that integrity is central to earning the trust, respect, and support of one’s peers. Integrity encompasses the highest regard for honesty, civility, justice, and fairness.

Humility: A member does not regard oneself more highly than others. Regardless of a person’s level of success, an individual always looks beyond oneself to appreciate the inherent value of others.

Respect: A member respects individual differences and fosters diversity. They promote tolerance, inclusion, and empowerment for people from a variety of backgrounds, including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.

Leadership: A member influences others to take positive action toward productive change. Members commit to thoughtful and responsible leadership that promotes the other core values in the Code of Honor.

Service: A member exercises their talents to provide service to peers, community, and the activity. At all times a member is prepared to work constructively to improve the lives of others.

Volunteer Code of Conduct

The NYC Elementary School Speech and Debate League is a youth-serving, community-based organization. Participation in the organization’s programs is subject to the observance of the organization’s rules and procedures. 




  1. Promote a respectful community: Treat all volunteers, employees and community members with respect, courtesy, and dignity. 

  2. Prioritize site safety: Safety rules and guidelines on the volunteer site have been created to keep you and others safe as you volunteer and must be followed. Activities that pose a safety risk to yourself or others should be avoided. Report any unsafe working conditions to the onsite supervisor. 

  3. Model behavior that respects the human rights of all people and protects beneficiaries and children from exploitation and abuse. The NYC Elementary School Speech and Debate League has adopted the standards established by the United Nations to respect the human rights of all people and especially beneficiaries and children. Help model acceptable behavior by making sure your actions reflect these standards.

  4. Education. Our mission at all times is education and encouraging students to participate in speech and debate. Please reflect this at all times as a volunteer judge, coach or in any other position. Our goal is that students have a fun and educational time and want to participate in the next tournament. 

  5. Thanking our Hosts. We could not have our tournaments, workshops or institutes possible without our hosts. Please treat our host sites with the utmost respect. Please thank all school and host staff. Please make sure to return any furniture (chairs, desks, tables) to original position. Please pick up any garbage or debris. Otherwise, that school or other location may not host us again. 




  • The activities outlined below are strictly prohibited. Any participant or staff member who violates this Code is subject to discipline, up to and including removal from the program. We reserve the right to decline volunteer opportunities to any person at any time. The following activities are prohibited: 

  • Abusive language towards a staff member, volunteer or another participant.

  • Discourtesy or rudeness to a fellow participant, staff member or volunteer.

  • Verbal, physical or visual harassment of another participant, staff member or volunteer.

  • Actual or threatened violence toward any individual or group.

  • Conduct endangering the life, safety, health or well-being of others.

  • Possession or use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs or reporting to the program while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Possession of any unauthorized materials such as explosives, firearms, weapons or other similar items.

  • Failure to follow any agency policy or procedure.

  • Bullying or taking unfair advantage of any participant.

  • Failing to cooperate with an adult supervisor/leader/mentor.

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