On January 11, the CHS debate club, led by Jonah Perrin, senior, held its fourth debate since the creation of the club this fall.
This week’s debate topic was on immigration policies and the issue of building a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants. According to Chris Beichner, Social studies teacher and debate club advisor, over 70 people showed up to the debate.
Students ranging from all grades, ages, races and political beliefs attended the debate to either share their opinions or listen to those of others. Anti-immigration perspectives tended to support the building of a border wall, increasing border security and reducing the number of illegal immigrants in America. Pro-immigration students maintained that immigrants benefit the economy and add to society. They proposed funneling money into an improved immigration system rather than a border wall.
While managed by both Perrin and Beichner, the debate did at times take a hostile turn, owing to the controversial nature of the subject. Some students felt it was sometimes one-sided and difficult to prevent people from interrupting each other.
“I definitely thought it was one-sided at times; we need more Republican voices. We should be nicer to each other as well, no more personal attacks,” said Roman Perone, junior.
Other students were disappointed with how the debate turned out. Ezster Rimanyi, also a junior, believes there should be more understanding of different perspectives and actual debate for the sake of debating.
“I feel like in a bunch of debates there is a lack of opposition with really good points. We never have the ‘I can see;’ we feel like we have to just be part of one party or side. I would like to let go of emotion…If I’m on the republican side, I should be able to say, ‘I can see’. We never have that, and that’s what I kind of miss,” said Rimanyi.
Beichner, who supervises the debates (which take place in his room), has a different perspective disregarding parties or political affiliations. He felt positively about the turnout of students and their ability to debate.
“The topics are controversial, but for the most part students have been respectful. Mostly, I’ve been amazed by well-spoken people are off-the-cuff. [You’re] just 16 or 17 years old, and it’s pretty impressive to me,” said Beichner.
Further debates will be held in Beichner’s room, E216, pending the decision of new topics. Contact Perrin for information about the debate club, or if you have ideas for a debate topic.
Photo by Olivia Weigle