highschool debate topics

Debate Topics in High School


High school debate topics are a hot topic of discussion in schools across the nation. It can be challenging to choose one for your high school debate team with many debate topics available. This article will discuss 13 of the most popular and highly debated topics in high school today.

However, if you prefer to skip them over due to reasons such as a busy schedule, our top tutors are ready to cover you by acing that debate assignment. All you need to do is place an order today!

1. The Legalization of Marijuana

The debate about legalizing marijuana is one of the most controversial topics in high school today. Marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes by two states and Washington D.C., with many other states presenting legislation to do so as well.

Legalizing marijuana would have a significant economic impact on America, which could go either way depending on who you ask – it will affect different people differently based on their age group or location within the country. Opinion polls show that more Americans are pro-legalization than not.

The pros:

-Legalizing weed could increase tax revenue across all levels of government. It will also reduce spending when processing non-criminal offenders and create jobs through regulating cultivation and distribution industries because taxes from cannabis sales can be used to supplement education funding in Colorado. The state has seen a drop in crime rates, which they attribute to marijuana legalization.

The cons:

-Legalizing weed would increase America’s dependence on other countries for resources like hemp and paper products, which leads to economic insecurity that could make our country more vulnerable to potential threats such as cyber-attacks or terrorist attacks.

-In 2014, there was an average of one fatal car crash every 49 minutes related to cannabis use – legalizing marijuana will cause an increase in traffic fatalities because it is harder for drivers under the influence of pot. These risks are not worth the benefits of legalized marijuana sales.

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2. Abortion is a Woman’s Right

Abortion is one of the most contentious topics in the USA, with two people holding opposite views.


-If a woman does not want to have a child at that time for any reason and is going through pregnancy, she should be able to abort (terminate) her baby after 20 weeks of gestation. In some cases, abortion becomes necessary because it can cause mental trauma if done later on. 

-The benefits attributed to the availability of abortions include preventing unwanted children, reducing maternal mortality, and long-term economic benefits from preventing unintended pregnancies.


-The disadvantages of this practice include the possibility that some women are coerced into having abortions and moral dilemmas. In some cases, the debate is whether abortion should be legal, affordable, and accessible.

-Some states impose mandatory counselling before performing an abortion, and in others, parental consent is required. 

-Some have also argued that abortion reduces populations in developing countries.

-Legalization could affect pregnancy prevention methods such as abstinence; waiting for comfortable age before getting married and engaging in sexual activities

-Abortion rights activists oppose restrictions on abortions, but other people support them, while some advocate restricting it only to cases like incest, health risks to the mother, or if there is severe fetal disability 

-Unlike what many think, taking an unborn life away from them legally is murder; we live in a society where we solve our problems by changing the law rather than being responsible for our actions.

-The debate on this topic can also include what to do with those who are denied an abortion, as well as how a woman’s life would change because of having a baby that she might have otherwise terminated.

3. Violent Video Games

The debate over violent video games has been a controversial topic for the past couple of decades.

There is an ongoing controversy because people still argue that playing these types of games can have adverse effects on children’s aggression and violence despite scientific evidence.


Some believe that it does not affect them since they play them even when they’re adults and don’t see any changes in their behaviour or personality traits.

Violent video games may also influence aggression levels by making players feel more powerful and less afraid when faced with potential physical confrontation.


The argument continues to be debated among parents and scientists. Still, the American Psychological Association (APA) has found that video game violence can lead to several psychological effects on children.

The APA’s report cites “persistent violent behaviour as well as reduced empathy for victims.” This is because playing these types of games often makes people numb or desensitized to violence, leading them to do things they would not otherwise have done in real life.

Therefore, many psychologists believe there should be stricter laws regulating how much exposure kids are allowed before they’re 18 years old.

You may check our detailed article on pros and cons of banning video games!

4. Social Media

The debate about social media is a hot topic among school boards and parents.


Many think that social media can also benefit schools, such by improving communication between teachers and teaching staff, allowing for increased participation by all stakeholders (including prospective teachers).

It can also be helpful in providing more transparency to families on how their children are performing academically, increasing diversity within the classroom via discussion forums which discuss different viewpoints from students across the world. Also, it’s an easy way to encourage collaboration amongst peers when working together on projects like science fairs or book reports.


Parents worry about online bullying, student-teacher interactions, cyberbullying, or sexting. Board members may be concerned with the amount of time students spend in front of screens instead of in-class learning new skills.

Some argue that social media has had a negative effect on students and their academic performance, while others are optimistic about the benefits of education in general.

The overall effect of social media on the educational system is that it’s difficult to say its impact.

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5. Religion and Science Should Coexist in Schools. Yes or No?


Many would say that religion and science should coexist in schools. For some, it is crucial to know how they are both related to each other, while for others, there might be a fear of the unknown when it comes to what will happen if we take one out of our daily lives.

Since its inception, there have been debates about this topic because people can’t seem to agree on which topics should or shouldn’t be taught here at school.

Others point out that teaching children about something like evolution would positively change their views on life and make them want to learn more about things that go against what they were taught in church


Some would argue that religion and science could not coexist due to different beliefs between them; religions usually view everything as happening by God’s design.

Science views things more scientifically than religiously, so they often contradict their explanations and thoughts on life situations.

Alternatively, some believe this debate should happen as it is an important discussion for us all because we need access to both sides of the argument to make decisions based on those facts.

People would argue that religion has had its place. Still, today’s society needs secular-based education so kids can be better prepared for a future where belief systems might change again or even disappear entirely.

There are also debates about politics being discussed at school: many say teaching children controversial topics like abortion could confuse younger students into thinking they’re too young (or not old enough) to talk about them.

6. Should There be More Restrictions on Gun Ownership? 

Gun ownership is one of the most controversial debate topics in high school.

In the United States, there are over 300 million guns in circulation. 


The NRA claims that gun ownership is a constitutional right and should not be limited by legislation. Many people disagree with this stance because they believe that it’s too easy to get access to firearms if you’re not legally allowed to have them, making our society unsafe.


The NRA claims that gun ownership is a constitutional right and should not be limited by legislation; many people disagree with this stance because they believe that it’s too easy to get access to firearms if you’re not legally allowed to have them, which makes our society less safe for everyone else (i.e., children).

Many of these debates center around the Second Amendment – whether or not citizens can own guns at all depending on their age, past criminal history, etc.; proponents argue that restricting firearms would violate one’s rights as an individual while opponents say it would make us safer from crimes like mass shootings.

The notion that guns are dangerous has been proved repeatedly; in fact, most children who die from gun violence live within 25 miles of a hunting site, with about half living just up to one mile away.

In the past few decades, 33 percent of mass shootings were committed by minors (under 18 years old). These numbers should be looked at critically because almost all states allow children below the age of 12 or 13 to shoot guns without any kind of supervision as long as they have adult permission.

7. What is Worse for Our Society; Gangs or Drugs? (Gangs)

People who are not in gangs tend to think that the gang culture is worse for society. This is because they have never been exposed to it, or their friends and family haven’t been a part of the violence within these communities.

The statistics show otherwise as most crimes committed by youths (under 18) are done with weapons which can easily be obtained from any corner store – this means then that those without access to guns or knives will still find other ways to harm people like running them over while driving drunk on drugs such as cocaine.

Both gangs and drugs have had a negative impact on society at large. The gangs can be seen as a more domineering force, and drugs are often used to create an escape from reality. It’s difficult for one to outweigh the other – they both have their place in society when you look at what has happened historically. 

8. Gay Marriage: Yes or No?


There exist many arguments that homosexuals should be allowed to marry and enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. The primary argument is that they are discriminated against by not being able to wed the person they love in a country where Marriage can be seen as an unspoken right for anyone who wants it.


The other side of this debate contends that there has never been any objective evidence suggesting homosexuality is genetic.

Therefore, gay marriages exist entirely due to cultural values instilled into them by people growing up; according to these opponents, gay marriages will cease when those cultural conventions disappear over time (making legislation irrelevant).

9. Should the Death Penalty Exist?

– The death penalty is a controversial debate topic that has been debated for centuries. People have strong opinions on both sides; however, some think the death penalty should not exist. 


– Supporters state that feeling safe is more important than worrying about whether or not an individual deserves justice; they also argue that keeping criminals off the streets makes life easier for law-abiding citizens by reducing crime rates.


– In countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, people can be executed by this form of punishment under strict guidelines; in China, though, it’s seen as an effective deterrent from committing crimes like theft or drug trafficking (despite evidence suggesting otherwise). 

– Countries which don’t use capital punishment often do so to those who commit especially heinous crimes – but even these cases raise questions about whether or not justice was served. There’s no clear answer here: simply because something happens doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen either way!

-Some religions also have strong opinions on the matter, with some followers believing it should never be used and others who think it’s necessary for certain crimes.

Some people believe that capital punishment is not effective enough at fighting crime; however, many supporters feel that removing this form of punishment would increase criminal activity as criminals wouldn’t fear consequences anymore.

– In the United States alone, there are over 3000 people on death row waiting for their sentence: a statistic like this begs some profound questions about capital punishment in our society. 

– Arguments against it also include issues with sentencing consistency (for example, African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population, but 40% of those sentenced to death) as well as the possibility that innocent people might be executed. 

The death penalty has been around since ancient times – but what does modern society make of this? High schools have various debate topics to choose from, and this one will get everyone talking.

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10. The Pros and Cons of Having a Dress Code in High School

Dressing code for high school is a common debate topic.


Supporters of the dress code think it sends a message to students about appropriate behaviour and contributes to academic success.

The supporters also argue that the dress code is a good thing because it prevents students from dressing inappropriately.


At the same time, opponents claim that enforcing an arbitrary dress code limits young people’s sense of individuality and creativity.

Teachers argue that the dress code limits student creativity and individuality, while some people feel that teachers should teach without worrying about what their students are wearing.

The debate on whether or not schools should have a dress code has been going on for years now, with both sides of the argument persuading different groups of people. The pros and cons of having a school uniform will depend on each person’s opinion, which can vary depending upon age, culture, social background, etc.…

There is no one absolute answer as this issue involves many variables. There isn’t just one right way for every child in every situation in life. Hence, there shouldn’t be any single set policy when debating this topic.

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11. Animal Testing Should be Banned.

Should animal testing continue to be used to explore better medicines for humans?

The debate topic sounds like an excellent idea, but many people disagree with them.


Some people are against this idea because it is a very costly process, and many companies rely on these animals to test their solutions which can lead up to the loss of jobs for some people in the workforce


Animal testing should be banned because there has been too much suffering, and animals are hurt at an alarming rate. 

Animals that are used for testing suffer terribly; they’re hit with electric shocks, crushed under weights as heavy as cars, and given chemical injections into their hearts or brains. They’re also burned alive, suffocated by gas chambers, and have test objects inserted painfully into them without anesthesia.

If animal testing continues to be used, there will continue controversy about the usage of these animals, which can lead up to reformatting laws, so companies will eventually stop using this inhumane method.

12. Juveniles Should be Tried and Treated as Adults.

Should juveniles be tried and treated as adults? 

Many people argue that juveniles should not be tried or treated like adults. Individuals who believe in this position have many reasons to back up their reasoning; for example, Juvenile brains are still developing; the criminal justice system is better suited for handling crimes committed by an adolescent than a fully grown adult.


Juveniles should not be tried or treated like adult criminals for various reasons, including Juvenile brains needing time to mature; being incarcerated with older offenders may negatively affect juvenile offenders’ brain development. A majority of people agree with this position due to these arguments, along with many others.


Opposite of those arguments, some people say it makes sense because they often commit severe violent offences and can’t control themselves at such young ages.

Other people think that if juveniles are tried and treated as adults, the justice system will be more efficient.

Many people argue this because they believe it’s better to get them out of society early before their criminal behaviour can take root. 

13. Climate Change is the Greatest Threat Facing Humanity Today.

The debate about climate change is about how humans affect the Earth’s climate and what should be done to stop it. The topic can also focus on potential impacts.

The first research published in peer-reviewed literature was by Guy Stewart Callendar in 1938, who found that rising carbon dioxide levels were correlated with increased global surface temperature from 1900 to 1935.

This correlation showed seasonal peaks corresponding to summer temperatures at various locations worldwide and has become known as “Callendar’s Hypothesis.” 

Though he did not consider this work definitive, others have argued that his papers provide clear evidence for man’s contribution to fluctuating worldwide climates through fossil fuel combustion emissions which then raised the atmospheric CO² concentration.

In 1956, Roger Revelle and Hans Suess published a paper in which they found that the oceans absorb more than half of fossil-fuel-derived carbon dioxide emissions, with surface-level measurements at least 15% lower than predicted by estimated rates. 

Revelle continued to make significant contributions to understanding human impact on atmospheric CO² levels through various studies, including his first report as Chief scientist for the U.S. President’s Science Advisory Committee, an assessment of global degassing now known as “the Revelle factor.”

This was followed up with later papers such as one coauthored with fellow Harvard professor Charles David Keeling in 1957, which showed rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations attributed to fossil fuel combustion could have implications for climate change. 

We hope this list of 13 high school debate topics has been helpful for you. Remember that these debates can help students develop valuable public speaking, research, and critical thinking skills.

Thank you for reaching this far, and our top tutors for hire are ready to handle your debate assignment in case you’re still in doubt. All you need to do is click the green button below and follow the simple steps!

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