This debate organization requires children to receive a Covid shot to compete

The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) is requiring high school students to receive the COVID vaccine in order to compete in person for its national tournament this summer.

Ahead of its 2022 National Speech and Debating Tournament in June, the organization released rules for those entering the contest, which included a mandate that “[a]All individuals participating in any portion of the National Tournament…must be fully immunized and current on their COVID-19 vaccinations as per CDC definitions.

“This includes, but is not limited to, students, judges, coaches, tournament staff, and chaperones. Participants must provide up-to-date proof of vaccinations by May 15,” the document reads. on NSDA COVID-19 Health and Safety.

Although the organization allows participants to apply for a religious or medical exemption, it remains unclear what specific criteria the NSDA’s “national office” plans to use when verifying these documents.

The debate organization’s decision to impose Covid jabs on competing high school students has begun to spark outrage among parents, with Arkansas dad Jason Childs telling The Federalist the requirement is downright ‘wrong “.

“Telling them that my daughter has to do this with very limited exemptions in order to compete puts me in the position where I either have to give up my sincere beliefs about medical care for my daughter or tell her she doesn’t can’t compete on that basis,” Childs said. “So there is no good solution to this problem.”

A father of four daughters, Childs says that while he’s “not against vaccines” and his children “are fully immunized against all things required for their school”, he believes the lack of “longitudinal data” on bites is a concern.

“Everybody was like, ‘Well, you know, you get the flu shot or you get the measles shot,’ and I’m like, yeah, because those are diseases that kill kids or make them sick. seriously ill and [those] vaccines have been available for [many] years,” he said. “So it’s not that I’m against vaccines, it’s that I’m against things that are unknowable, especially with the age of my children.”

Childs went on to detail the many exchanges he had with NSDA officials about the mandate, noting the organization’s failure to specifically address his concerns.

“I emailed their general inquiry line and got what seemed like a boilerplate response,” he said. “I replied and said that was an unsatisfactory response, how the director of the NSDA [Scott Wunn] Emailed me directly with slightly more amplified remarks, but basically just gave the same rephrased response.

“I wanted detailed quotes explaining why they chose what they chose,” Childs continued. “He responded and said they had consulted with the CDC and the University of Nebraska medical system…but didn’t say what other things were being considered, just that [policy] broadly protects participants.

A waiver for people planning to attend the summer tournament was filed by the superintendent of the school district where Childs’ daughter attends, but was denied by the NSDA.

As has been well documented since the emergence of Covid-19, the risk to children contracting COVID-19 is extremely low. Those under the age of 18 account for approximately 950 (0.097%) of the 979,163 Covid-related deaths in the country as of March 30, 2022. More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further reduced its official Covid death toll . more than 72,000 due to a “coding logic error”, which included 416 falsely labeled pediatric deaths.

While the NSDA offers competing students who are not participating in person an online option, the virtual events act as a front for the main competition. As Childs noted, online event offerings are limited in scope and do not run alongside the in-person tournament in Louisville.

“Yes [my daughter] should not compete [in-person], her place would be given to a substitute and the two events for which she is qualified are not offered in the additional tournament, ”he said. “[The NSDA] continues to refer to this additional event, however, it is not the main event. These are not the specific debating disciplines for which she had qualified.

According to the debate organization’s website, the additional online events are scheduled to take place June 2-4, nearly two full weeks before the main in-person competition in Louisville which runs June 12-17.

The National Speech and Debate Association did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Federalist on the rationale for its unprecedented medical warrant.

Among the NSDA’s many sponsors for its summer tournament is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which works with the NSDA “to provide additional opportunities” for NSDA members. Listed as an Official Speech and Debate Organizing Partner, the Reagan Foundation is hosting a National Debating Championship for “the two best impromptu speakers in the [NSDA] National Tournament,” as well as two finalists from the seven regions of The Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“Competitors who qualify for the National Championship receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California,” the Foundation’s website reads. “The three-day trip will include a private library tour, dinner under the wings of Air Force One, and a chance to meet an amazing group of young leaders.”

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Federalist about its partnership with an organization denying basic freedoms to potential competitors.


Shawn Fleetwood is an intern at The Federalist and a senior at the University of Mary Washington. He is also a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous media including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood

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