NSAA Cracking Down on Speech Language


"How the hell are we supposed to live!?"

In a speech competition or play production, would it give the same dramatic effect if the word 'heck' was used instead of 'hell?' It's a debate many competitors are having after the NSAA announced it's having its judges crack down on forensic performances with vulgar language or lewd conduct.

"It kind of prohibits, sometimes, how people can portray a piece if they can't use that language, because it adds some effect to it," said Taylor Graham, who performs dramatic interpretation.

Taylor isn't the only Lincoln East student who sees the effect.

"Speech is a type of art form, and in most art institutions censoring art is kind of looked down upon," said Jacob Friend, a poetry performer.

"It does kind of limit some of the pieces that can be done, because the profanity does kind of give the emotional response the piece is asking for," said Simon Ristow, who also performs in dramatic interpretation.

That being said, the students understand foul language isn't always necessary.

"There have been speeches in the past that are uncomfortable to watch," said Friend.

"You wanna do keep it as clean as you can because this is a school organization," said Ristow.

That's where the NSAA comes into play. Debra Velder said just like penalties in sports, there are rules in speeches.

"You penalize unsportsmanlike. You penalize traveling in basketball. If you violate a rule in speech or play production, you're going to be penalized as well," said Velder, NSAA associate director.

One problem Lincoln East speech coach Matt Davis has is the school administration has to approve the material before it goes into competition, so why then should the judge be able to deduct points?

"If the local district and the local administration has approved what the student is doing, that means we assume the parents, coaches and everyone along the line has said this is ok to perform in a competition," Davis said. "Allowing the judges to say this is not ok to perform in competition, I just think it's a bad policy."


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