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How widespread are forensics clubs in the US?

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A beta reader on the East Coast who read my ms. asks what forensics is, perhaps thinking CSI: Middle School.

Forensics (public speaking/skits, not just debate) is widespread in Wisconsin school systems, which are not exactly cutting edge, and has been for decades. Is it just a Midwestern thing?


#1 - July 19, 2012, 10:29 AM
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 12:13 PM by AnneB »

Nope...We've got it in Memphis!
#2 - July 19, 2012, 10:43 AM
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In Nebraska it exists, but it tends to be called "Speech Team" so kids might not get the reference.
#3 - July 19, 2012, 10:56 AM

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Big in Virginia!
#4 - July 19, 2012, 10:56 AM
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Big in NJ -- but both debate and speech are considered part of forensics.
#5 - July 19, 2012, 12:10 PM

We had it in my high school (southeast in the 80s).  We called it "forensics" only part of the time, though.  Most people called it "Debate club" or "Speech and Debate," even though, as you say, there were different categories, including scenes from plays and monologues. 

We went to regional and state tournaments and such.
#6 - July 19, 2012, 01:01 PM

My kids had forensics classes - as a specialty group of classes - no club tho'

My daughter loved it and thought about going into forensics and I bet with CSI and Law & Order type of shows it will become more and more common.
#7 - July 19, 2012, 01:17 PM

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I would have been confused by the term, but I think I would have figured it out by the context. I've heard it, but it wasn't used at my school.
#8 - July 19, 2012, 01:57 PM

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Funny, with the word "forensics" I immediately thought of CSI, but as soon as you mentioned the other kind, I recognized that term straight away. That being said, we never called it that growing up in CT -- it was always speech or debate.
#9 - July 19, 2012, 02:01 PM

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Never heard of it in California. It was called the Debate Team.
#10 - July 19, 2012, 02:11 PM

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It would help if you'd put in your locations when replying!
#11 - July 20, 2012, 12:06 PM

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I'm from Missouri.
#12 - July 20, 2012, 12:45 PM

Also from California, and I have never heard of it. We called it Debate Team or Speech & Debate.
#13 - July 20, 2012, 04:08 PM

Seattle  - never heard of it. I thought CSI, too. We have speech meets, though. :)
#14 - July 20, 2012, 04:09 PM
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I get a kick out of telling people that I was a coach in the NFL.  ;)  That would  be the National Forensic League, headquartered in Ripon, WI (I do believe the Midwest is the heartland for forensics; my dad was even on the debate team for his high school in WI).  I coached a high school speech and debate team in CA for five years, and the kids were all members of the NFL, earning points for pins, and coaches could get points, as well.  It was extremely competitive, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed traveling to all the different schools in the LA area for the various tournaments, and, as a beginning speech and debate coach, I found the other coaches very helpful, which was heartwarming. Later, I also coached in Hawaii at Punahou School and the kids went to NFL finals in speech and in debate; we had lots of help from the fine folks in Ripon, who produce tons of great material about the current year's debate topic and helpful resources for the other events.  Any other NFL coaches out there?
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#15 - July 20, 2012, 05:25 PM
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I'm in NYC and most of my daughter's friends are on a Forensic team. I have to say though, up until a couple of years ago, I also thought CSI.

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#16 - July 20, 2012, 06:01 PM
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I'm not a coach, but I did judge for seven years. My younger son just graduated and forensics was by far and away his most important activity. He has friends from all over the country he met at summer camp (George Mason U) and at national tournaments. He's even rooming at college with a kid he met through forensics.
#17 - July 21, 2012, 08:54 AM

I'm in Oregon and we have Speech/Debate teams and forensics classes but those are the CSI kind. I've never heard forensics used in reference to Speech Club - you learn something new every day...or at least I do  :grin
#18 - July 23, 2012, 12:51 PM

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