Thursday night (29th April) saw Evelin, Priya and Nouh (yr13) along with Yasameen and Noora (yr12) match wits (remotely) with some high calibre competition in the John Stuart Mill Cup.
A tournament in which teams of high school students competitively discuss ethical issues of public concern. The team that best displays the virtues of insightfulness, thoughtfulness and civility takes home the ultimate prize. The first two cases KHS emerged victorious against Lord Wandsworth College. They presented an excellent moral case against Private Schools, whilst acknowledging the tension with the fundamental right of parents to spend their money on the betterment of their children. They then delivered a discerning critique on the legal prohibition of certain speech relating to homosexuality and homophobia. They distinguished between hate speech and homophobic discrimination (on the one hand) and the expressing of, what some might view as, negative views on homosexuality (on the other). They pushed the other team hard on their claim that speech that can cause offense should be legislated against - won't this lead to these views being expressed elsewhere? Won't this cut off opportunity to engage and change minds so that the problem is never resolved? Will this push people into 'echo chambers' where their views will only harden and become more extreme?
The 3rd and 4th case saw KHS up against students from Christ Hospital. KHS presented a defence of rehabilitation over retribution in the criminal justice system. They advocated for a societal shift in how we view justice and that even victims of crime should move away from the understanding of justice simply meaning punishment, without any concern for longer term societal impact. They were praised by the judges for their ability to accommodate and adapt their position in response to the other team's and judges' criticism and questions. The last case was on the right of individuals to be forgotten on the internet. KHS explored the dangers for young people being unable to move on from past mistakes and challenged the other team on the notion that unregulated press freedom could make the press akin to a branch of the judiciary. With the power to publish being tantamount to punishing people for past mistakes and preventing people from moving forward with their lives. KHS were narrowly beaten in this round. Christ Hospital put forward a strong response, arguing that we should not have the right to be forgotten but rather we should have the right to be forgiven.
At the end of the 5 hour marathon event KHS achieved 1 win and 1 loss. We congratulate Christ Hospital, who are through to the next round, for their impressive performance and wish them well in the next stage of the competition.
Our students prepared for this every Friday for the last 8 weeks. They have shown incredible dedication, curiosity and insightfulness. An absolute pleasure working with them!
(masks were momentarily removed for the photo)