Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

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meebles127
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Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by meebles127 »

I wasn't sure where exactly to place this post so please move it if it fits better somewhere else.

There has been a long discussion in the main Discord server today over whether or not high school teams should be required to have chaperones/advisors at tournaments and whether that same requirement should be extended to online tournaments. Some have argued in favor of requiring a chaperone to encourage accountability and to help prevent misconduct. Others have argued against such a requirement stating that it unduly increases the barrier to participation in quizbowl, among other things. Numerous people have provided other justifications for why they believe that teams should or should not be required to have a chaperone at tournaments.

As it is looking more and more likely that tournaments will be able to resume in-person this fall, I think it is a good time to have this conversation. I'm not sure hashing this out over online tournaments is worth it at this point, given that the season is nearly over.

Should in-person tournaments require teams to have supervisors? Should that supervisor be required to be a school faculty member or could it be a parent? Are the additional barriers that requiring a supervisor introduces worth it to support a positive competitive environment?

I will be sharing my personal thoughts in another post in this thread.
Em Gunter
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by dankosthenes »

Thank you for moving this discussion to the forums, Em.

In-person teams need to have adult supervisors, in my view. There is substantial risk of predation or assault when high schoolers travel alone. Other extracurricular organizations have strict requirements on adult supervision and we should embrace those. I think a supervisor can be either a parent or a faculty member.

As far as online quizbowl is concerned, I think that there needs to be an adult in every room at all times. If you need to get up, get a spare person or the TD to sit in your room for you while you're gone. I also think there needs to be clear expectations and standards for moderators in their role of preventing misconduct and intervention. Specifically, I think there need to be clear sanctions for what happens if you do not properly perform your duty with regards to preventing misconduct. I also think trainings for staff and tournament directors for preventing misconduct would be worthwhile.

That being said, I'm not sure chaperones are necessary for online quizbowl, per se. I think that it is more feasible to have an adult affiliated with the tournament in the room at all times, as well as clear expectations for that adult, trainings to help them intervene in misconduct situations, and consequences if they do not perform their duties.
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by DavidB256 »

Requiring chaperones for online quiz bowl is bad, primarily because it is severely inhibitive to most teams. I know for certain that my high school coaches would not have been willing to sit around on Discord for 8 hours for me to play a tournament. I co-directed UVA's two online high school tournaments this year, at which ~3 of the ~50 total teams had accompanying adults. We had zero cases of observed/reported misconduct and all staffers were prepared to handle potential misconduct. I find the idea of requiring high schoolers to be accompanied to be infantilizing, especially in the context of the smart and independent students who spend their weekends playing quiz bowl. While misconduct is, of course, an issue at all levels of quiz bowl, requiring high school teams to provide a chaperone is an overkill solution to the problem, which can almost always be resolved by tournament staff.

I understand Chris's fear of "risk of predation or assault," but, in my limited experience as someone who attended one high school tournament without adult accompaniment, I believe that this risk is negligible in the vast majority of cases.
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by jonathanshauf »

I am curious as to who counts as an "adult" here- is it just anyone over 18?
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by meebles127 »

I'm assuming David's point is mostly directed towards online tournaments, but in the event that it is directed towards in-person tournaments I have some thoughts:

High school teams should absolutely be required to have a chaperone of some sort (parent, teacher, etc.) at in-person tournaments. We know that misconduct happens, but this is not the only reason that high school teams should be required to have chaperones. Chris talks about predation or assault, which is a valid concern, but there are other reasons beyond that. Most, if not all, universities require that minors present on their campus be supervised by an adult. Additionally, having an adult at the tournament, even if they are watching a different team play (A, B, etc.), provides the tournament director with the ability to immediately contact someone who is on-site to help resolve any potential issues. Misconduct could arise, a kid could get hurt, or God forbid go missing.
DavidB256 wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:44 pm I find the idea of requiring high schoolers to be accompanied to be infantilizing, especially in the context of the smart and independent students who spend their weekends playing quiz bowl.
This is an extremely misleading statement. Just because a group of students can answer questions does not mean that they have the emotional intelligence to handle themselves appropriately at a quizbowl tournament. Intelligent people can still make stupid decisions, be victims or perpetrators of misconduct, get injured, or otherwise end up in a position that requires intervention or guidance from an adult. It's not infantilizing to require high school students, who can be as young as 14, to have an adult supervisor, it is the smart, responsible thing to do.
dankosthenes wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 9:18 pm Other extracurricular organizations have strict requirements on adult supervision and we should embrace those.

...

I also think there needs to be clear expectations and standards for moderators in their role of preventing misconduct and intervention. Specifically, I think there need to be clear sanctions for what happens if you do not properly perform your duty with regards to preventing misconduct. I also think trainings for staff and tournament directors for preventing misconduct would be worthwhile.
While this is more closely related to in-person tournaments, I want to discuss my experience with FIRST robotics, both as a student and volunteer. At tournaments, teams are required to have an adult, though typically each team has way more than one adult, at the venue throughout the entire duration of the tournament. The head mentor for each team is additionally required to provide their contact information to tournament staff in case there is an emergency.

As a volunteer, I am required, annually, to complete training about appropriate behavior at tournaments and how to react in the event that we do observe issues of misconduct. Generally, we are supposed to report these issues to "pit admin" who can escalate the incident to the FTA, (a volunteer responsible for managing the technology of the competition, but they also have final authority to eject teams from a tournament) if necessary. We additionally have a "Non-Medical Incident Report", similar to quizbowl's misconduct form, where anyone at an event can report an issue of misconduct and have it reviewed not only by regional staff but also by staff at headquarters.

In short, there are very strict procedures regarding supervision and conduct at tournaments. Issues of misconduct still arise, but there are codified procedures to handle them and prevent those issues from arising again. Quizbowl has made efforts to do this with the misconduct form, as well as, codes of conduct but I would strongly urge quizbowl to attempt to adopt more universal procedures. Perhaps head editors could require all staff of tournaments using their set to complete some sort of online training module for misconduct and other issues. This is obviously difficult with quizbowl's generally disjointed nature, and I'm not exactly sure how we'd solve this issue, but I think it is an important conversation for the community to have, though that would likely be best suited for its own thread.
jonathanshauf wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:54 pm I am curious as to who counts as an "adult" here- is it just anyone over 18?
In this situation, I would define an adult as someone who has graduated from high school. For in-person tournaments, I would still require a team of four 18-year-old seniors to have an adult chaperone.
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by Atlashill »

I think a good deal of this may have already been discussed less than a year ago in this thread. I'll reiterate that in some states, faculty or other approved adult supervision is required by virtue of quiz bowl having oversight from a state association.

Em's points here are spot-on, and echo what my colleague Alex Dzurick argued last year in the linked thread. Tournament directors need a contact to address any concerns that arise with a team on-site, as well as the wherewithal to contact a school administrator or other higher authority if concerns are not sufficiently addressed.
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by Cheynem »

My take is that we should strive for a general policy of requiring an adult/chaperone at the tournaments. This does not necessarily mean the chaperone is in the same room with the team 100% of the time (some chaperones could be staffing, bouncing back and forth between watching A/B/C teams, etc.).

As with all general policies, there has to be some room for flexibility. What can be done about teams for whatever reason do not have an adult or chaperone or cannot have one for a tournament? I'd think about alternate solutions rather than just not letting them play. For example, assigning a staffer if possible to keep an eye on the team, not letting such teams leave the tournament unaccompanied (i.e., they're going to have to bring their lunch or order delivery), and at minimum having contact information for an adult from the team there.

For online tournaments, I am slightly less concerned and think that problems can be resolved by stricter staffer training and compliance. I think Chris is correct that teams should not be left unaccompanied in a room, but this is fairly easy to solve--moderators should not let teams into a gameroom online unless they are present and close the gameroom upon match completion. Ideally a scorekeeper can be present if the moderator has to step away or is absent.

I would say that many of the potential problems of HS teams being supervised at tournaments can also be resolved by stricter staffer training and compliance (obviously not all of them).
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Re: Supervision of High Schools Teams at Tournaments

Post by dankosthenes »

Somewhat tangential but closely related to this issue is the importance of having an adult contact for high school quizbowl orgs. Recently, I know I and others have been frustrated with trying to deal with misconduct issues from a certain high school. It has been frustrating because the only way we have been able to contact the club is through high schoolers who have not handled themselves in a way conducive to resolving these issues. Statements have been confusing instead of clarifying, and discussions of cheating and misconduct descend into high school gossip to the detriment of actual resolution.
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