Video transcript
NSW Premier's Debating Challenge 2019 - Years 7 and 8 State Final

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LILY O'CONNOR: I welcome you to the state final of the 2019 Premier's Debating Challenge for Years 7 and 8 championships. This debate is between James Ruse Agricultural High School and Fort Street High School.

The affirmative team from Fort Street High School is first speaker Matilda Kibian; second speaker, Rose Kenyon; third speaker, Leonard Kelly; and team advisor, Archie Handler. The negative team from James Ruse Agricultural High School is third speaker, Jennifer Liu; second speaker Darshanik Aryal; third speaker, Iqra Razzak; and team advisor, Harshan Someshwar.

The adjudicator for this debate is Bella, Eleanor, Alex, and Guy. Each speaker may speak for 6 minutes with a warning bell at 4 minutes and with 2 bells at 6 minutes indicating that the speaker's time has expired. A bell will be rung continuously if a speaker exceeds the maximum time by more than 1 minute. Finally, before we begin, please ensure that all mobile phones are switched off.

The topic of this debate is that teachers should be allowed to search kids' bags. Please welcome the first speaker on the affirmative side of the debate.


MATILDA KIBIAN: As a teacher and as a school as an institution, your primary concern should be about the students' safety. And in certain cases, searching people's bags is an extension of that to make sure that students are going in safe. I say from the team, we believe that if a teacher has reason to be suspicious of a threat, they have the responsibility to take any action they are able to to make sure that these students are safe and to make sure that there is no threat to other students and to the student themselves.

We defined the topic as all teachers in a permanent position at any school, public or private. Our model is that these searches will only be done if a teacher has a good reason to be suspicious of possession of contraband, such as drugs, alcohol smokes, and weapons. This could include a tip off from another student, overhearing a student talk about it with their friends, or if the student is exhibiting violent behaviour or comes across high.

Every search will be done under the standard guidelines used in museums and airplanes. And the only students and teachers will be present for the search. Teachers will be required to write an incident report after the search. And we think this will ensure that every search is done fairly and will make the students the most comfortable that they can be while we take this measure.

To convince you of this, I will be talking about how this measure will improve safety in schools and how that's the role of the teachers and the schools as an institution to improve the safety. My second speaker will be talking about how this rule is a deterrent for students who might take these things in the school and how this will raise awareness about some issues that schools face today.

My team's first argument that this change will improve overall safety for students. When we don't allow teachers to search bags, it becomes incredibly easy for students to seek contraband like drugs and alcohol or weapons into school. These incidents pose a threat to both the student involved and the other student, which is clearly terrible.

On the contraband, we classify there as the 3 types of students in these issues. Firstly, there are those who are never going to be involved in drugs, not at all involved in these drugs or contraband. And these students, obviously, are an issue for us. The second type of students are the ones that may not be taking drugs or contraband at the moment, or they may not be regular users, but are susceptible to increasing their drug use through methods like peer pressure and through methods like being exposed at school by other students.

This is for the majority of people that are exposed to drugs are exposed in school are exposed through their friends or their peers and are exposed to people they know, not random people on the street, obviously. So we think that cracking down on whether people can bring these things into school or whether they can get away with bringing these things at the school is going to be really beneficial to stopping these students from being exposed to these drugs that could lead them to using them more later in life.

If we allow these students to continually to be exposed to drugs, they are going to become heavier users. Drugs are especially bad on young minds. As we know, marijuana is the most used drug for school children and people in general. And this stunts brain development for people under the age of 25. Obviously, we don't want this.

And especially with other drugs, there are many physical damages that are important. School kids are most likely to have bad drugs because they don't have much money. They're going to buy cheap stuff, and drug dealers will feel that they can trick them really easily because these people don't have experience with buying drugs. And they don't know what will be good for them and what is safe to take-- what is safer to take, I mean.

This also becomes a gateway, this addiction, to harder drugs and to a lifestyle that is bad for any student or any person in general. The third group that we found under this issue, if the students are the ones that might deal drugs or are heavily addicted already. The reason for this might be that they find drugs as an escape from the problems in their life.

They might have other mental health issues, or they were exposed by their friends and peers and now they are addicted, or that they need an outlet for rebellion, and they feel that it is cool. These people pose a threat to the other group who are open to trying, especially when they bring them to the school. They're exposing other students, and they are indirectly or directly pressuring them to take these drugs, which is obviously going to have negative effects on these students.

If a teacher does [inaudible] that to a variety of sources, like tip offs from other students or the student themselves taking it, all the students coming high into class, they have a way to eliminate the threat these students pose to themselves and others, which under the negative team's model, they do not. They have no way of making sure that these students don't bring these drugs, or don't share these drugs around, or don't expose others to these drugs.

And we think this is more important than any little invasion of privacy that the negative team could pool through. This applies even more if a student is suspected of carrying a weapon at a school, like a knife or some obscure thing like a crossbow. These students pose a real physical threat to other teachers and students.

And if teachers have a chance to stop this, they absolutely should, which I will talk about in my next point. It is common sense to let these teachers have these rules to make sure that they can keep every single student safe and to make sure that they can ensure that people don't bring these contrabands in and don't have these negative effects on other students.

Safety is the most important thing in school. Students need to be safe when they are learning, and they need to feel safe in this environment. And we should be taking every measure to ensure students are not threatened.

My team's second argument is that it's the role of the students and the teachers to protect-- the schools and the teachers to protect their students. As we know, all teachers have a duty of care over their students. This means that they are legally obligated to take every measure they can to make sure that these students are safe.

Under the law, it would be then easy to take over that these teachers also need to use their duty of care to search bags when they suspect that something might pose a threat to other students, like with drugs and smokes and alcohol and with weapons, especially. As I explained, the contraband that students are bringing into school are harmful, not only to them, but to the people around them, making this even more potent in this case.

means that teachers have a responsibility to help protect these students. And our model give these schools and their teachers the ability to easily do this and safely protect their students from the harms that drugs and weapons are likely to cause.

When our model is implemented, teachers can, if they have reasonable suspicion, protect these students from these harms without overly going over the top with making these students feel absolutely terrible or impeding on what would be reasonable.

Not only should teachers protect students because this is the right thing, but because they are legally obligated to do and to take every measure to make sure these students are safe. Thank you.

JENNIFER LIU: The affirmative have come in today to tell you that there are high schools hiding criminal things in their backs, just drugs and weapons, yet they actually haven't proven that there's a large amount of high schools that are doing this. And today, we, as the negative, will prove to you that there actually is no issue in the status quo that is a huge issue and that will be solved by the affirmative, and that the affirmative's proposal is unnecessary and actually harmful.

So the affirmative case has fallen to several key factors that number 1, the primary concern of teachers are to keep students safe and therefore gives them the right to actually impede on the students' privacy-- of their right to privacy. Now, number 1, teachers also have the right to keep students mentally healthy, which won't occur with the affirmative's model, as discussed in my case, and teachers also to teach their students to trust them, not to judge whether they are drug dealers or not whether they're doing marijuana or not.

And 3, as my second speaker will elaborate on, we didn't think that schools were a place that kids would likely do marijuana and cigarettes at school. Their second key factor is that kids that bring in drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes will harm other stakeholders, such as good students and those that don't regularly take cigarettes and smokes.

And we respond to this by saying number 1, it's not likely that all students will be drug users. Crime is difficult to do, and it's almost impossible for students to have weapons, alcohols, and cigarettes since they are high schools. It's almost impossible for them to get a hold of it.

And two, even if they're dangerous drug users, it's unlikely that they would be friends with a good kid because they know, they can differentiate that they shouldn't be taking drugs or taking alcohol. And that means that these stakeholders will not be affected. The affirmative's kind of purpose of their models kind of discussing how this model will prevent students from dealing drugs and cigarettes.

So number 1, we would like to say even if teachers do find these drug dealers, how do they have the qualification to even deal with them? This should be headed to the police. They're just taking the step, saying, I'm here now. I'm a teacher. I'm going to do this.

And number two, what are the chances that these students are even drug dealers? How would they have even have marijuana or smokes? They cannot have a high chance of finding all these drug deals.

And what will happen is that teachers would actually be negatively impacting those students that are being blamed because they're being incorrectly exposed and they feel shamed for it, and they feel discriminated. And also, if you do get these student dealers, you actually haven't gone through the dealer that is dealing to these students, because there's no actual way that a student drug dealer actually had the drugs able and is growing a marijuana plant or something.

There's someone behind it that the teachers haven't caught, and that isn't doing the root of the problem. The affirmative model also allow good reason to give teachers the power to search their kids' bags. They identify this as rumours or topos. And as my second speaker will explain later, in our case, we thought that this was likely to result in abuse of power that falls and resulting on the harms of searching innocent kids' bags, which I'll discuss later or more detrimental than any proposed benefit from the affirmative.

And now, in this debate, I will be discussing how there are moral justifications associated with a proposal and how it affects a student's right to privacy. I'll also be discussing the backlash associated with teachers discriminating and especially targeting racial kids, low-SES kids, and how this will make kids lose faith in teachers and lose faith in the judicial system.

My second speaker will be proving how there is no major issue in the status quo and how schools wouldn't be the epicentre of drugs and alcohol and negative things, and how even if there was an issue with students having a negative list of things, that that would be highly likely to be outside of school.

Now on to my case. Now, in this debate, one of the major issues is whether students have a freedom-- I mean, right to privacy and whether or not it was correct for teachers to forcibly see what is in a student's bag without approval. This side of house knows that all people have a right to personal belongings and a right to hide things that's in their bags.

With the affirmative's model, there is an immediate assumption of guilt since teachers are able to force out what's in a student's bag without permission. We felt that the main [inaudible] were vulnerable high schools that did have perhaps something to hide that was not illegal, since students are humans, and they do have secrets that might not necessarily result in them being drug dealers or anything like that.

What will happen, with the affirmative's case, is that teachers search students' bags in one, you have to remember that teachers will not always find drugs or illegal things, and that isn't guaranteed. Therefore, there aren't that big of capture that would be a benefit. So that means that it's more likely for teachers to actually impede on a student's right to privacy.

Not only do teachers find any illicit drugs or anything. They might, in fact, expose a student's secrets or something embarrassing, and thus the student will lose faith in the system since they have been unnecessarily searched. In fact, this has been agreed upon by the LECC, who have conducted a misconduct inquiry into police stripping, similar to bag searching, about how police will abuse their powers by incorrectly choosing people and searching them and searching for their privacy.

For example, let's say Taylor has binding on his bag since he's transgender and identifies as a man. Although binding and being transgender is totally legal, there's just stigma around being transgenders. And thus, he kind of feels safe knowing that his binding is in his bag and that he will feel safe because no one is allowed to force it out of him.

Now, when a teacher, with the affirmative's model, suspects him of doing something bad and hiding drugs, with the affirmative's model, the teacher will be allowed to search the student's bag. And with Miss Bella searching Taylor's bag, she will find bindings instead of drugs or cigarettes. Now, it's good that Taylor doesn't have any drugs, but he's also been unnecessarily provoked and humiliated because his teacher didn't trust his word and instead searched his bag and exposes his secret.

And he now feels incredibly unsafe in the school. And I'm sure things will happen to him. One, he'll isolate himself and lose faith in teachers since they lost faith in him. Two, he'll lose faith in the judicial system, kind of like teachers and more because he's guilty until proven innocent, which should have been the opposite.

And we feel that this case will not only happen to kids like Taylor, but also other vulnerable high schools since there are things like pads and [inaudible] products that girls, especially since this is in high school, that they would like to hide since they're teased. And they just go like, they're [inaudible] don't want you to shame them.

So there's so many different vulnerable high schools that will feel more affected and harmed by just that. There wouldn't be a 100% a kind of finding of illicit drugs. We feel that the harms of the model will definitely outweigh the benefits that they've kind of said since students that have been affected will thus lose faith in teachers and the judicial system, as well as being scared of teachers since they feel that they will be exposed and shamed for having things like pads or binding. And it's highly likely the student will become isolated.

Now, onto the second aspect of this case, so this will be the abuse of power that you would have in this situation and also discrimination. This side of house knows that there will be major criterion that judges will have by judging whether or not these kids are having drugs or not based on their track records and things like race.

So what does this mean for the affirmative's case is when they put in on this case, that that teacher will be targeting low-SES students and aggressive, suspended kids. And some teachers may even target race, things like Latino or Lebanese students. And what will happen, as a result, is that these students, the main stakeholders, will feel incredibly discriminated against.

They will judge them and attacked. And that means these whole moral insecure teenagers will lose faith in teachers and the judicial system. And what will happen is one, they'll isolate themselves from discrimination and fear of being shamed for being poor. And that is what defines, such as low-SES students.

Two, people with a bad track record feel like they've been discriminated because of their past, and thus they'll be inclined to actually do bad things because they think, hey, I'm bad. If I'm good and I'm being punished for being bad, then why don't I just be bad and get punished for being bad? And through these people will actually generally have a more negative mindset towards schools and teachers, the judicial system since the government has lost faith in them.

Thus that makes them fear the justice system. And that actually causes bigger long-term effects in adulthood because they think, oh, in school I felt discriminated and the people I also feel discriminated. And since the affirmative hasn't improved their case properly, I am proud to negate.

ROSE KENYON: The opposing team has come out and told you today that there are no children bringing in contraband. Now, we believe this is untrue as most drugs are taken during high school, as even if there is one student taking them, they will most likely pressure their friends in taking them. These people then pressure the friends, and it will spread through schools.

And even if there are only small amounts of these drugs, there is still a benefit of implementing our model since there is such a large harm if drugs are taken in schools. Because even if it only affects one person, this person is so negatively affected that it's important that we implement our model to stop it.

They stated that our model won't fix drugs. But we believe it will protect children who are addicts by taking drugs away from them. It will stop drugs from getting into schools, and it will protect children who might be exposed to these drugs from drug addicts or drug dealers who will have drugs with them.

And this will protect children from drugs later on in life because they will have been exposed from such an early age in school. And this will keep people at schools from dangerous bodily harms, such as weapons that may also be carried by these children in their bags. OK.

So they mentioned that our model might be an invasion of privacy, but we believe that this isn't an invasion of privacy. It's very unlikely that teachers will get it wrong because they will have to have a large amount of evidence to actually have permission to search these bags. And even if they do get it wrong, they'll not invade privacy because this is done in museums and stadiums and other places. It's done in many other places as well as schools.

That's actually more trustworthy when they're done with teachers, because these are people who understand the student and know what they've been through. And we believe that it won't be an invasion of privacy. And even if a student is incorrectly searched and their privacy is invaded, there are much greater harms if our model isn't implemented, such as drugs being spread through school, weapons, and other contraband items.

And these teachers will have to sign a contract of confidentiality to protect their student So These students won't be exposed to the wider school. And therefore, they won't have to feel embarrassed.

So the benefits of our model far outweigh the minuscule harms that they have stated for these reasons. And the status quo is actually harmful so we must implement our model. Yes. So now onto my team's case.

So my team's third point will explain about how our model will act as a deterrent to students who bring in drugs or other banned items. So students who already don't bring drugs won't be affected by this model, and this includes primary school students. Because the teachers won't have any reason to be suspicious so they won't be searched, and they'll be fine.

Even if, for some reason, they are searched, students will understand this is for the greater good. And only the student and the teachers will be present. Teachers won't read anything or are unlikely to find anything important or private. And even if they do, they're sworn confidentiality, and they will do this in a professional manner so there's very little threat to the students.

So if these students are considering bringing such banned items to school, they will be deterred because they don't want to be caught, which benefits them and the wider school community. There's going to be no drugs, no contraband items, and no weapons in schools, which is good.

And for students who occasionally use drugs or bring weapons will be deterred because they don't want to be caught. They're not really involved in this. They're not very invested. They just do it occasionally because they occasionally enjoy drugs. They occasionally feel unsafe.

And they don't want to be caught, because their parents will be informed. They don't want to have that discussion with their parents. They don't want to experience suspension. They don't want to have to discuss and talk to the police about this. They just want to avoid bringing drugs because they don't want to get talked to it.

So this benefits them as they're no longer exposed to the drugs or the weapons, and they're no longer threatening harm to themselves or the students in the school community. So this benefits the wider school community as it keeps other students away from drugs, and they are less likely to come into contact with them and get addicted, which is good for everyone.

And this also means other members of the school community won't be affected when the student has taken drugs, or has had alcohol, or is carrying weapons because if they have no control over themselves, they may become violent or irrational, which will interrupt class, pose threats to other students with violence. They might attack other students with very little reason, which is going to be very bad for that student's learning and their health as well.

So other students and staff won't be threatened by weapons from this child. And because they will be deterred from bringing them in the first place, this is good. So we must implement occasional bag searches to keep students and the wider school community safe because students will be deterred from bringing them these items in school, which is good.

It's students who are heavily involved in drugs or bring weapons are less likely to be deterred by this model. That is true. However, because they are more heavily involved, it's much more likely to show in their behaviour.

They're more likely to act irrationally in class, more likely to be violent, and they're more likely to talk about it. So teachers are more likely to be suspicious, and these students are going to be caught. They're going to be searched, and the teachers are going to find these items. OK.

So then, once the teachers find these items, the student will either be handed over to the police, escorted by the principal, and they will receive punishment. But they will also receive help for these issues, which will benefit them and the wider school community.

Also, having a student actually caught would also be a large deterrent to the students because they know, hey, man, I can actually get caught to this. It makes [inaudible] that student, and it makes most other students aware of the fact that they can get caught by this. So this benefits the wider school community.

In the case of weapons, because students won't have them, so they'll be much more safe because there's no threat of them being attacked by a knife or some other form of weapon. In the case of alcohol, these students won't get drunk, or they won't get other tools and drugs. So they won't behave badly, interrupt classes, and act violently or badly in some other way, which is safer for the school community as a whole.

And it also will help their mental health because they won't be exposed to as much violence to alcohol, meaning it won't affect their brain as much. And so in the case of drugs, they won't have these drugs so they won't behave as badly in classes and violently as well. And they won't cause other students to become addicted to these drugs by pressuring them into taking them and threatening them badly this way, which is good for these students and the wider school community, again.

So for this reason, our model must be implemented at the school community. So my team's fourth and final point could explain how this one will raise awareness about how drugs and bringing weapons to school are bad, so teachers will be more aware. So teachers who aren't already aware will now be taught about this through having to implement this model.

And all teachers will be taught about how to notice these threats and what the proportions of these threats are and how to respond to these threats. Some teachers might not already know, so we are going to teach them about this so they can actually act properly rather than the opposition stating and they will act badly. So we will teach them about this so they do it well.

So this is good for the teachers and for the wider school community. So parents will also be more aware through our model because they will be informed by email, by the school website, and the school newsletter, so they can do their own research on this topic to deeper understand it if they do think there are any children are at risk. And they can talk to their children about this. So more understanding is good, and we must implement our model. Thank you.

DARSHANIK ARYAL: Ladies and gentlemen, 3 quick questions in this speech. Firstly, was there a need to search kids' bags at school? Secondly, how searching kids' bags in today's society is more effective than the status quo? Thirdly, whether or not such a kids' bags would be useful.

The second and third questions will be my substantive. So onto this first question of was there a need to search kids' bag to school. Down the line, the affirmative conceded the main idea that searching a kids' bags would make school a safer environment. And to this, we have a few responses.

First, if you feel that the affirmative has grossly mischaracterized the nature of students' behaviour at school. They stated that kids are bringing drugs and weapons to school. Firstly, since not every bag was going to be searched, the chance that any contraband was found was only relied on the fact that some other kid knew that there was a threat.

And we feel that because that model relied on some other kid knowing about it and especially that these drugs were contraband was considered in the bag, it was highly unlikely that even if there was something going wrong in someone's bag, it was unlikely to be found out by the school anyway because students would fail to flag it. On the other hand of this, as I'll also explain later, we find that kids would also false report things just because they thought it was funny.

And this undermines the purpose of the affirmative's model on the whole. Secondly, the purpose of school is to learn. And while we agree that safety was of paramount importance, we feel that the affirmative grossly exaggerated the amount of kids bringing weapons or drugs into school.

Because in an open environment, such as the school, we felt that it was unlikely that you would think you were less likely to be caught doing drugs in the school environment than if you were like outside you could find private spaces or secluded areas where there was not many people around, kids or teachers around, who probably had their eye on you as a student.

And how many of us in here today have even heard in the news about some student pulling a knife out of the bag at school? Because the affirmative has mischaracterized the school environment, I can see why you might want to implement this model. However, this model would not improve the level of safety in schools, which we believe in the status quo is probably reasonably safe, as I'll also explain later.

The second speaker also brought up this idea of this being a general deterrent to bringing bad ite,s to school. Firstly, we think that they never showed how if you were going to catch them bringing drugs to school, this would cause them to not do it again. We think that, especially the stakeholder identified as a drug dealer, they're probably going to have other sources of drugs around. And that by simply catching them out at school is probably not going to stop the extent of the problem and improve safety, and that they're probably going to re-offend again. So the model really did not help safety at school at all.

They also got these examples of bags searches in museum. Now, the only reason why these were effective is because every single bag in here was searched. Because the model, again, I'd like to emphasise, relies on students knowing about the threats in someone's bag, it's really ineffective as not every single bag would be searched, which they identified was probably not effective in their model as they said it would probably be an invasion of privacy.

And then talk to us about why teachers needed a good reason to search someone's bag, which I will later explain, is probably not reliable or safe at all. They also said that people would see it better and that we believe that it was better to get rid of this small part of invasion of privacy if we felt that the benefits of school.

In the high school environment that they identified, where you have hormonal teenagers and agitated teens, we probably felt that they would not see the same way and that they would probably rather keep the invasion of privacy rather than always have to run the risk of feeling that their bag could be searched for absolutely no reason at all.

Now on to these substantive questions. Firstly, how searching kids' bag in today's society is more effective. Firstly, we thought that there really was no need in searching and giving teachers all this authority when we really didn't see a huge problem in the current atmosphere of schools. And we thought this for a few reasons.

Firstly, what is the purpose of a school? As learning environment with a heavy presence of teachers and other students around kids, kids on the whole probably weren't going to be doing illegal things at school. If Bob goes to school with drugs and starts doing drugs at school, he probably knows that there is a larger chance of him getting caught at school with other kids around him as there are less private spaces, and there are lots of other people around that could report him.

He is most likely to offend and do drugs outside of school. And therefore, we really would not see him bringing these drugs to school in the first place. So even if Bob was like a drug addict, they probably were never going to find this out anyway.

We felt that since students knew that there was always a sense of risk of leaving your bag unattended at school during breaks, even if they were drugging, they were probably never going to bring it to school in the first place because at lunch, you might leave your bag outside your classroom. And there's always a risk of leaving it there and someone fighting it out regardless of it being a teacher or a student.

Secondly, in the current system, if a police or school was to ever search a kid's bags, they would need to have a proper search warrant. The benefits of this is that these warrants guarantee that there is a large amount of sufficient evidence to say that someone is guilty. For example, in the same way that search warrants only happen when a judge or a court has officially signed it and reviewed evidence to say that there's probably going to be more evidence of a substantial case as someone's house.

This method of searching with a warrant most likely wasn't going to incorrectly search people. And I just like to show how without a warrant, abuses of power arise and how it's ineffective.

The current example of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission having a misconduct inquiry into police strip searching kids on the road without having a warrant. In this situation, they said that a dog sitting down when they felt that kids had drugs walking past was enough of a warrant was probably going to be beneficial. What did they find? The majority of kids had nothing on them.

Even with a biosecurity dog there, there still was not sufficient evidence that they knew nothing about these children to warrant a search. And thus, it did not prove fruitful. This leads me on to my next question-- whether or not searching kids bags would be effective at all.

I've already proven why kids were unlikely to bring illegal items to schools, or you felt that with these power, there was likely to be practical implications. We thought that to an extent there would be an abuse of power from some teachers. What do I mean by this?

Aside from discrimination against certain low-SES groups, as my first speaker spoke about, we felt that teachers were likely to search kids on the basis of personal biases or improper knowledge. For example, if Bob walked into school one day with red eyes, if Mrs. Henderson maybe doesn't like him because he doesn't behave in class, she's probably going to search his bag because she thought he had drugs, when in reality, Bob might just had a really bad sleep last night.

He might just be really tired. But now you're going to incorrectly search him. And as my first speaker stated, there are numerous harms and social ramifications of this, including loss of trust in the system that we would rather prioritise over the fact that maybe they were maybe going to find like one druggie addict to offend, but they really never ever proved how finding this one druggie addict was going to improve safety at schools anyway.

Lastly, I'd also like to mention the afformative's model increases the risk of kids being unfairly judged. Because, for example, someone's friends thought it would be fun to play prank on you. So Bob's friends constantly report Bob because they think it's funny. And teachers keep on searching his bags.

Under the affirmative's model, what they said a good reason was tip-off from students. Now we also feel like this is going to undermine the purpose of the model further than I already have said it will. This is going to become sort of like a boy cried wolf situation.

When you keep on telling the teacher the same thing again, they're probably going to get sick of it. And eventually, when there was ever a legitimate cause or a legitimate student bringing something into school, they were probably not going to care anymore. Thus showing that in the long run, this model has absolutely no benefits to the school environment safety at all.

So what have the affirmative told us today? That they can join searching kids' bags despite how ineffective it was, and that they felt they had a right to impede on your personal privacy, but give teachers all this unwarranted power that was most likely going to be abused and mistreated, when really, we didn't see any imminent problem with the safety of a school environment that they failed to prove. And they also failed to prove how searching bags would even benefit, when they relied on their identification system to be students reporting and flagging and citizens' [inaudible]. And for these reasons, I'm proud to negate. Thank you.

LEONARD KELLY: So there were a few main points of contention in this debate. The first, so do students do drugs? And then do teachers have the right to search students' bag? And thirdly, does this create safe environments within the school?

So onto do students do drugs. So the negative team came out and said that students aren't really going to do this. If they do it, they'll do it outside of school. And it's hard to access drugs.

So we from the affirmative you have to say a few things first. We believe that not all students are smart. There are plenty of public schools out there with troubled students.

And the majority of these people are going to be the ones who we are saying doing drugs, not people from selective schools who know the bad things about it. So we believe that these people will do drugs at school because they will want to boast to their friends and things. And they might want to bully others into doing it at school as well.

It's the best place for them to all meet up and do this. We also think that doing it at home by themselves is not really what the type of things school kids are doing. So secondly, we also believe that it's really easy to find drugs.

So first of all, there are like heaps of drugs everywhere. And if you can get them in festivals without heaps of police patrolling, it's so easy to get it. And thirdly, we like to mention it's also proved through a contradiction with the negative team had in their case.

First, they said it was hard to find drugs, and then they said that when students are searched and they don't have drugs out of spite, they will start taking drugs. And we believe that if someone who has never taken drugs before, then suddenly able to find drugs and take it out of spite, if this is how easy it is, obviously, this is a major problem that even the negative team is taking.

So at the end of this issue, we believe that some smart people won't do drugs, but the majority of troubled people who are at public schools will be the ones who do drugs. So on to the second issue of do teachers have the right to search students' bags.

So the negative team said that teachers will abuse their power. There will be mistakes and embarrassment for people, and privacy is also a big issue. So I think from out team, we have a few responses.

So the first is that it's not really a big infringement as the negative team is saying. So first of all, it's just items from the bag. They won't like look at the books or anything or if it's something that is embarrassing, they'll just go over it if it's not something that is proved.

And thirdly, it won't be embarrassing because it's not like they're going to open the bags in front of the class or in front of the school. It's sort of more like a confidential thing just to check. And the teacher isn't going to go and say, oh, this person is doing certain things, if it's embarrassing or something like this. We also believe that this happens all the time in museums where people have bags to check, so it's not really much of a big deal.

So then we're talking now to about abuse of power. So there are two parts to this. We believe that teachers need some proof. And teachers, unlike police, actually care about their students.

So onto that teachers need proof. So since teachers need some sort of proof, or suspicion, or some sort of proof, this means that they just can't rifle randomly through bags of people who are from a different race or low-SES background. They actually need some sort of proof to do this.

Also, teachers have to write like a report on this also, so that means that they can't just say, OK this person-- they have to give a reasonable explanation. So they can't just do this. And also, there are mechanisms for students to report if they believe that the teacher's doing this discriminatory.

So thirdly, so next, teachers generally care about their students. So the negative team gave a lot of examples of police strip searching kids. But we believe that the police is a whole different thing, because teachers actually care about students.

They don't choose to teach because they hate students and want to inflict pain on them. They believe that education is important, and they want to care about their students. So this means that if they care about their students, they're not going to try and discriminate against certain people or anything if they do their mechanisms against this.

So we believe that the responsibility of teachers to protect students outweighs students' privacy. So privacy can only be preserved when there are no harm to others. In this situation, there are big harms in this plan, as I've just proved that there are drugs.

So this means that a small infringement on privacy is outweighed by the massive harms and the teacher's responsibility to protect these students from harms. Because safety is the most important thing in a school. Because if you are not safe in a school, it doesn't matter the quality of your education or how nice teachers are or anything.

So at the end of this issue, there are some small infringements of privacy and now mechanisms if people are being discriminated against for student's report. And the other much bigger harms outweigh any of these negatives.

So onto the last point of does this create safer environments for students to, first of all, feel safe and second of all, to be safe. So as the affirmative team, as I have already stated before, with discrimination and students feeling embarrassed, first of all, it's confidential, meaning teachers care. And it's easy to report if teachers are discriminated against or if you don't feel uncomfortable, you can do these things.

So now second onto whether it's actually safer. So the negative team said teachers searching a few people's bags isn't very likely. But we believe this is untrue, as if teachers are suspicious, they can get evidence. And secondly, teachers aren't as stupid as the negative team has pointed them out to be.

They're out in the playground. They are seeing all the students. They know their students, and they are able to pick up on things. Because I don't think the students are going to be super secretive and super smart about hiding their things.

And we believe that they just don't have the right mechanisms to deal with this. And a way of getting proof so that they can hand this over to better authorities than themselves is the best way to do this. Because we believe then what happens is they can hand over to better people themselves to better people.

So then what can happen is these people who have drugs, they can go to rehabilitation and the police so that they will be able to get off these drugs so that we can have a better system of doing this. And also, the negative team said that there's no deterrent because the people who are doing these drugs or contraband are the ones who are dealing these things.

But what we mean by deterrent, we mean that the majority of people, most people who take drugs are only going to take it a few times because they're pressured by their friends or things. And we believe these people aren't the same as those drug dealers. They're like people who are much worse.

We believe that they're far, far less-- they're not really want to be criminals. So when it becomes that they can be searched, they're going to be like, OK, I'm not really a criminal. So I'm sort of going to be more-- I'm going to stay off it because I'm not really that bad.

And then they also said the students will lose faith in the system because teachers make mistakes. But we believe that since the teachers will be able to report these things, other students will have more faith in teachers as they're catching these bad people, which students are worried about at schools.

And they said getting a warrant and then searching things is better, but we believe that it isn't because it takes way too much time to do this. And it needs a lot more evidence. And it's a full-blown investigation. So if something small, like someone who was found in possession of drugs, this is much better with our model.

So at the end of this issue, we believe that some students might feel slightly uncomfortable with being searched. But we say that, first of all, the school is a lot safer. And second of all, students will feel safer because they know that there's ways for them to report these drug people and that they-- there's lots of mechanisms too. Thank you.

IQRA RAZZAK: Ladies and gentlemen, there are 3 main issues in this debate. Number 1, is there a need to search kids' bags at school in the first place? Number 2, what's the effect of the affirmative's model that is randomly searching kids' bags? And number 3, do kids' rights to privacy matter?

So we heard a whole narrative from the Assembly Speaker speakers that kids were bringing in drugs and weapons into schools and that they were putting other students at risks and that teachers needed to identify the problem students and search their bags. However, we have a couple of responses to this.

Number one, the purpose of schools is to learn and teach. Generally speaking, kids are there to learn, to engage in the classroom, to do the work and engage socially, like playing sports with each other rather than talk about drugs or what drug is the best. Especially when they already know that there's so many figures of authority in the area who could punish them for doing shady things, we doubted that kids were dumb enough to bring in drugs to school in the first place.

Furthermore, just because of the insane amount of education that we get about not doing drugs and about why it's wrong to vandalise and stuff like that, we think that kids are deterred from doing all this dodgy stuff anyway, and that being pressed was going to mean that it was just completely unnecessary.

And they went on a whole spiel about how people, they did drugs because of peer pressure and stuff. However, we believe, as they considered that there were other factors in doing drugs such as like how abusive your home life is, how terrible your own life is, and that the peer pressure that occurred at schools simply wasn't going to affect the amount of drugs that they did.

And even if we take the opposition's best-case scenario and understand that some kids were going to do drugs and that they were going to engage in underage drinking and have [inaudible] or something, we felt that this sort of behaviour was done in most social gatherings such as at concerts and parties. We felt overall that the epicentre of all of this illegal activity was going to happen in places where the affirmative's model just can't enforce this rule.

And even if kids with drugs were [inaudible], just taking away their drugs, especially if they were addicted to the drugs or had a very-- they like drugs, it didn't mean that they were going to stop doing drugs outside of school. Just physical removal of drugs didn't mean that they were going to suddenly have a negative attitude towards drugs.

And just taking them away and being like, hey, go talk to the police now because we found these drugs, come on, figure out a way to stop your obsession with drugs. And we didn't think that this was actually going to fix the problems that they kept on saying. Additionally, we think that the current measures at minimising any risk of harm at school were actually working.

So we felt that currently, what happens is that a big incident at school happens, say, money is stolen than various shady suspects are analysed and investigated by using security cameras, by unit collating reports from witnesses, and after all of that extensive investigation and collation of evidence, finally, police supports to legally deal with the issue.

In the affirmative's world, what happens is that money is stolen, that student's bag is searched no matter how innocent they may be. And then as a result, there are two main results. Number 1, the culprit probably isn't even found because they can hide the stolen money elsewhere. That's like a really practical issue.

And number 2, that [inaudible] was incredibly harmful to the majority of innocent stakeholders, i.e. students who don't steal that money yet still have to go through such an arduous, intrusive process. We thought that having a deeper investigation into specific students behind the scenes rather than straight up accused people by searching the bags was also good because there was a more accurate process of finding the culprit.

OK. So onto the second issue, what's the effect of the affirmative's model? So we felt that the way that the affirmative's model was going to play out was that when an incident did occur, a teacher, whose main purpose was to teach, was going to subconsciously discriminate against students and ultimately search one type of racist student or low-SES kid more than another.

So for example, a teacher might need to search a kid's bag for stolen money, and they might subconsciously-- instead of us searching a Latino kid's bag first because of the theft and the robbery related stereotypes society have imposed on Latino people. We also thought that this was going to happen, and that this was true because teachers already have a lot on their plate.

I'm sure the audience can agree. Teachers have to do math. They have to do reports. They have to plan lessons. We felt that after a long day at work, teaching kids-- if a teacher's boss was to go up to them and be like, hey, Mr. Teacher, there's been a case of stolen money in the school. Can you search a kid's bag for it tomorrow?

Then that teacher was going to unfairly discriminate and make their own conclusion without any experience, as like a legal person would and say stuff like, hey, Billy is a low-SES kid. He's definitely one of the people that we should search. And that this was incredibly hurtful because there was no actual evidence in searching for a kid's bag. And rather, this was based on opinion of the majority.

And they also try to say that kids know their students. But we felt in a school environment, teachers didn't know exactly what was happening as there were so many drug offences currently going unnoticed, as they conceded. And onto the third issue, which-- yeah, is that issue we felt the effect of the affirmative's model was super damaging in terms of privacy and stuff.

Because in the age range that they're going for, kids, especially teenagers, are just learning about their identity, who they are, what they believe in, and their morals. When they're randomly or even, with evidence, searched, they're losing the right to privacy. And adults are essentially saying to their face, hey, we think that you're inherently dodgy and that we need to stamp out that dodginess out of you by searching your bag.

We don't trust you. And at that stage, trust is what teenagers need. As our first speaker stated, a kid's right to having that sense of ownership to having that sense of responsibility was just so important to help them grow in the future. Additionally, on a secondary level, when they realise that adults have no faith in them, they were more likely to rebel later on in more damaging ways.

So for example, if there was such-- and when they're reprimanded for, say, carrying a Sharpie and supposedly doing graffiti in the bathrooms, so we're more likely to go out later outside of school and in a less safe environment to do those sorts of things out of spite. And they become so secretive and isolated from the teachers about more things and start to hide who they are just because they become so afraid of losing their right to privacy even more.

And just in general, having the threat of your bag being searched any time, no matter if you're a student who doesn't do drugs or if you're a student likely to do them, it's just detrimental to do them in a way that would result in a negative relationship with the authority figures. And overall, since we felt that there was no real benefit in searching kids' bags at school because of the inevitable loss of privacy and the fact that there was no major issue in the first place, and that actually harms to this, we are proud to negate.

ALEX DE ARAUJO: Firstly, before we begin, let's take a moment to recognise the absolutely amazing achievement of the two teams that we saw today, not just in terms of the debate that we just saw, which the panel all agreed was one of the highest quality debates at this age level that we've ever seen each of us individually. But moreover, just to make this position to be in the grand final, to be on the stage in the first place shows just how dedicated, just how amazing both of these teams are. So we all agree that they all deserve a second round of applause.

And while this debate was of an incredibly high quality, it was also made very difficult to adjudicate by the fact that it was so incredibly close. That was evidenced by that initially being a 2-2 split on our panel of 4 as to the eventual winners. And only after many, many minutes of discussion could we eventually nail that down to a 3--1 split as the eventual winners.

So both teams had at least one adjudicator that thought that they were 1, and initially, they both had 2. So that shows just how close it was, just how awesome a job both teams did, and how regardless of the result today, they should feel so proud of their performance.

That said, we thought that there were 2 main pieces of general feedback, which both teams could have improved from taking on. The first was while this debate is about a lot more than drugs, the debate, especially by third speakers, became almost exclusively about drugs.

Even at first speakers concepts like weapons and other things were pretty much shoved to the side. It was almost exclusively focused on this one area of the debate. There are so much more to talk about. We thought that the negative team did a slightly better job of expanding it out, especially at first speaker. But by third speaker, we thought, again, even they started to almost exclusively talk about drugs. And so we thought that the debate had so much more space for other arguments that we could have heard.

The second thing that we thought could have been improved a little bit was a lot of ideas were really thrown out and not crystallised properly until later speakers. So from both teams, we heard a lot of benefits and a lot of harms, which sounded really, really clever, but it took until much later in the debate for us to get a clear picture of what the harm or benefit actually looks like and the exact reasons as to why they occurred.

And so often, that meant that we couldn't credit those ideas or at least the majority of the panel couldn't credit those ideas as much as we otherwise would have, and that will become a lot more clear as the adjudication goes on. So the way that we saw this debate was in 3 issues.

The first was whether we have a right to search kids' bags or whether teachers have a right to search kids' bags. The second was, what's the scale of the drug problem right now and incidentally, smaller things like weapons, and how that correspondingly reduced in the affirmative's world. And finally, what is the subsequent effect on students regarding things like being turned against the system and privacy considerations.

On the first, on do we have a right to search kids' bags. The affirmative tells us that teachers have a duty of care over students, which gives them a responsibility to check bags for the safety of others. In response, the negative consistently talked about the importance of privacy and mental health. We thought this was quite well explained.

However, what we think the affirmative were able to do here is to outline consistently that safety is the most important thing and that privacy is contingent on there not being harms to others. That obviously doesn't win or lose the debate for either team, but it does mean that we accept as a panel that if it can be proven that there is a net benefit to students by implementing this model and that there is a problem in the first place, then there would definitely be a right for teachers to search children's bags.

That brings us to the second issue on the scale of the drug problem now and how it would be reduced. The affirmative tells us that many kids are exposed to things like drugs and are at risk from weapons through the actions of a few whose bags must be checked for the safety of others. And they consistently tell us that this is the most important material in the debate.

The negative, throughout their case, give a few reasons why this model is ineffective. Most importantly, they were firstly that most drugs are taken outside of school and that effects like peer pressure apply mostly outside of school. Secondly, that it's very, very unlikely you'll find drugs or weapons in most people's bags, and it is nigh impossible to find the external issues like dealers that may be contributing to them.

And finally, this whole entire model relies on tip-offs from other students and a bunch of circumstantial evidence that make it really, really difficult to get any sort of success. In response, the affirmative tells us that actually, most drugs are taken during the high school period, and that importantly, they point to many other schools where there may be less education or at least less awareness about the issue of the drug problem and the risks.

And they tell us that teachers aren't stupid. They're able to know what's going on and pick up on things in the classroom and in the playground, and they're able to intervene. We thought the negative team brought out a lot of clever material about addiction and mental health, but the majority of the panel thought that this was delivered a little bit too late for it to be particularly persuasive on this issue.

And in particular, we thought the affirmative's material about how even one person doing drugs can have long-lasting and wide effects in the classroom through peer pressure and that there was some problem and some room to improve it, even if there wasn't many people doing things like drugs in the first place.

We thought also the affirmative gave us a few longer-term benefits, which weren't contingent on the exact success of their initial model-- things like how this provides a clear deterrent in the first place to bringing dangerous things into school because the kids don't want to be caught or explain things to their families and police, and that this raises awareness and teachers and parents about how these things are bad.

And we thought all of these things meant that there would be some considerable reduction in the number of drugs and incidences of peer pressure occurring at school. On the effect on students, the third and final issue, this is where the bulk of the negative teams material really came to shine.

They tell us that this will provoke and humiliate kids who may then isolate themselves or feel discriminated against and may be inclined to rebel in the future because they feel like they're being told that that is who they are, and that's what they should do. Unfortunately, for the majority of the panel, these harms will only crystallise in their fullest and their most convincing at third speaker after being left for the previous parts of the debate a little bit unclear as to what the realistic picture of how they would work was, the exact harm that we would see, and why that was going to occur.

And we think the affirmative were able to give us reasons why teachers choose to teach-- because they care about students, unlike the police, that they need proof and have to write a report. And all of the mechanisms within their model that allow for self-reporting, things like students being able to complain, the stuff about reports.

We think they also gave us a more clearer picture earlier on about how children will know that even if their bags are searched, they're not necessarily being treated as criminals, that it's only for the safety of others, and that students may have more faith in the system as it's more successful. And the teachers find examples of people with drugs and stuff.

We also think they gave us a number of reasons why the alternative that the negative team put in to, like police warrant or worse, because they were a little bit more invasive and because they were much slower. So we didn't think as a panel, as a majority, I should say, that there was too much harm to be had here when compared to the wider benefits of drugs.

Because of that-- sorry, the rather harms of drugs, I should say. Because of that, we thought that there was generally a right to search children's bags because ultimately, the reduction in the level of drug use and things like peer pressure and the wider benefits of deterrence and information slightly, ever so slightly outweighed the harms that the negative points to which are primarily applied to children.

Because of that, in a majority decision, but not unanimous decision, we very narrowly given the debate and the competition to the affirmative.


STUDENT: Our speaker will now congratulate the winning team.

HARSHAN SOMESHWAR: Congratulations in winning, and congratulations on winning the whole state championship. We learned so, so much from you guys today. And we hope you do well in New Years.

STUDENT: A speaker from the winning team will now respond.

ARCHIE HANDLER: So firstly, I'd like to congratulate you guys, who were incredible. And the fight was really, really close. And I'd also like to congratulate you on managing to make it to the state finals. It's a really big achievement, and you guys are really incredible. I'd also like to thank the audience for coming out here to watch us, and it was really-- it was a great way for us to properly improve our debates. And I'd also like to thank the adjudicators for helping us throughout the entire camp improve. It was really great to see you guys. Thanks.

PRESENTER 1: [inaudible] would you be happy to help with this? So we could call out our runners up for 2019, James Ruse Agricultural High School. Congratulations.

IQRA RAZZAK: Thank you.

PRESENTER 1: And we've got a medallion for their coach as well. Congratulations, James Ruse. And our winning team for 2019 in the 7 and 8 state debating championships, Fort Street High School.


And your coach as well. And your trophy.

PRESENTER 2: Your trophy. Take that in the middle.

JUDGE: Well done, Fort Street winners 2019.


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