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Code of Honor

Code of Honor


“As a member of the National Speech & Debate Association, I pledge to uphold the highest standards of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service in the pursuit of excellence.”

Integrity: An Honor Society member obeys the highest ethical standards and adheres to the rules of the organization. Members recognize that integrity is central to earning the trust, respect, and support of one’s peers. Integrity encompasses the highest regard for honesty, civility, justice, and fairness.

Humility: A member does not regard oneself more highly than others. Regardless of a person’s level of success, an individual always looks beyond oneself to appreciate the inherent value of others.

Respect: A member respects individual differences and fosters diversity. They promote tolerance, inclusion, and empowerment for people from a variety of backgrounds, including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.

Leadership: A member influences others to take positive action toward productive change. Members commit to thoughtful and responsible leadership that promotes the other core values in the Code of Honor.

Service: A member exercises their talents to provide service to peers, community, and the activity. At all times a member is prepared to work constructively to improve the lives of others.


Adopted September 23, 2007 | Updated December 6, 2017 © National Speech & Debate Association

Coaches Code of Ethics


The function of a coach is to educate students through participation in speech and debate. Students should be treated with the utmost respect, and their welfare should be considered in decisions by coaches at all times.

  • Coaches shall be aware that they have a tremendous influence, for either good or ill, on the education of their students and, thus, shall never place the value of winning above the value of instilling the highest ideals of character.
  • Coaches shall practice integrity by upholding the honor and dignity of our profession. In all personal contact with students, judges, tournament officials, activities directors, school administrators, other coaches, the media, and the public, coaches shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct.
  • Coaches shall take an active role in the prevention of student drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse.
  • Coaches shall be expected to uphold their school’s policy in regards to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use when in contact with students.
  • Coaches shall strive to understand the contest rules and to teach them to their students. Coaches shall not seek an advantage by circumvention of the spirit or letter of the rules.
  • Coaches shall exert their influence to enhance sportsmanship and fair-play by competitors and other coaches.
  • Coaches shall respect and support tournament officials. Coaches shall not indulge in conduct that would incite other coaches or students against tournament officials. Public criticism of tournament officials, other coaches, or students is unethical.
  • Coaches shall set the correct tone for a tournament or competition.


Adopted December 14, 2016 © National Speech & Debate Association