Rules and Procedures

Debate is often complex because it mixes competition, group learning, and individual learning constantly. Students are expected to study and practice with the people they may compete against in tournaments.

It is our goal at SEDA to always keep the environment during meetings, workshops, and tournaments positive. We recognize that the interests of debaters differ greatly: some may wish to be incredibly competitive, others may debate more recreationally. Every debater on that spectrum has a place in out events. We hold specific expectations of our debaters, parents, and volunteers at events to ensure they run smoothly and safely.

For those attending tournaments, read our tournament etiquette expectations.

Despite the competitive element that some debaters chose to participate in, we want everyone to appreciate and learn from one another. We ask that you keep the following in mind:


  1. I will participate because I want to, not just because my parents or coaches want me to.
  2. I will follow the rules and act in the spirit of debate.
  3. I will control my temper - arguing and 'mouthing off' can spoil the activity for everyone.
  4. I will respect my opponents.
  5. I will do my best to be a true team player.
  6. I will remember that winning isn't everything - that having fun, improving skills, making friends, and doing my best are also important.
  7. I will acknowledge all good performances - those of my partner and of my opponents.
  8. I will remember that coaches and judges are there to help me. I will accept their decisions and show them respect and appreciation.


  1. I will not force my child to participate in debate.
  2. I will remember that my child participates for their enjoyment, not for mine.
  3. I will encourage my child to follow the rules of debate and to resolve conflicts without resorting to hostility.
  4. I will encourage my child that doing one's best is as important as winning so that my child will never feel defeated by the outcome of a round.
  5. I will teach my child to feel like a winner every time by offering praise for debating fairly and trying hard.
  6. I will never ridicule or yell at my child for making a mistake or losing a round.
  7. I will remember that children learn best by example. I will applaud good performances for both my child's team and their opponents.
  8. I will never question the judge’s ruling or their qualifications in public.
  9. I will support all efforts to remove all verbal and physical abuse from children's activities.
  10. I will respect and show appreciation for the coaches who give their time to provide debate activities for my child.