KSHSAA Speech & Drama
Speech & Drama


Speech Tournament Grievances or Rulings

2024 5A State Speech Championships
Grievance: During Prose semifinals, two performers were using full movement in the room rather than standing still during the performance.

Committee Decision: All three judges were interviewed. Only one indicated that one of the performers may have moved, but it had no impact on judging. The other two judges did not recall movement. No action was taken, and the results of the round stood.

Grievance: Judge left the room in the middle of a DI performance. This disrupted the performance and would likely impact the other judges.

Committee Decision: The judge became ill and left the room. The student finished performing before contacting the coach. One other performer still needed to perform. The judge felt better and was able to proceed. The student performed again for all three original judges.

Grievance: Judge was closing eyes during performance and appeared to be falling asleep while performance was going on.

Committee Decision: Judges’ ballots were pulled and had complete and specific comments. The judge was interviewed and denies having been asleep. The judge was warned to keep eyes open during rounds.

2024 2A State Speech Championships
Grievance: Judge appeared to be dozing and not focused during entire performance.

Committee Decision: No information in the Manual specifies a judge needs to put on an appearance of interest in performance. Comments were provided on the ballot that provides reflection on the content in an appropriate method. The Committee maintained the decision of the judge.

Grievance: Judge made exact comments about a student’s outfit and the lack of professionalism.

Committee Decision: No specific prohibition in the KSHSAA Manual regarding comments on appearance. The ballots and decision of the judge stand as submitted.

Grievance: IDA team emphatically insisted the presented only two characters in accordance with the KSHSAA Manual. Team states that one character was explicitly presented as disguised, per the plot construction.

Committee Decision: The Judge defended the ballot. Said that neither the intro or performance clearly conveyed the use of a disguised character. Ballots stands.

February 2024
Grievance: A student was given a low score in round 2, with a comment about the piece being 50 seconds over time. The timekeeper for the room was the judge's daughter (a forensics student). She had not been assigned to time keep that room. No other rooms of prose were timed in prelims.

Committee Decision: In line with Sec. 7 of the Championship regulations, participants may not be penalized if the tournament manager does not assign an official timekeeper. Since the timekeeper was not assigned by the tournament host, the judge was asked to remove time as a factor in their decision. Ranks were changed accordingly, and all coaches affected were notified of the change. The change did not affect breaks to finals or sweepstakes.

2023 5A State Speech Championships
Grievance: Judge fell asleep during semifinals.

Discovery: No rule against a sleeping judge and no mention of the ability to rerun a round in the Manual.

Committee Decision: Upon consultation with the KSHSAA, it was decided that the best course of action for kids was to rerun the round with a new panel. Advice from KSCA rep is that language be explored by the advisory board to create a process for judge removal and language that empowers grievance committees to be able to rerun rounds should the need arise.

2023 3A State Speech Championships
Grievance: Timekeeper in the round had a tablet that went to sleep mid-round. The performing team ended up going overtime and received 6th place.

Discovery: According to the judge, they would have placed 1st had they not gone over time.

Committee Decision: Grievance upheld.

Grievance: In POI finals, performer placed book on the floor and used it as a scale/prop. Previous year’s grievance determined this is not “in contestant’s control at all times.”

Discovery: Spoke with aggrieved coach and asked for a demonstration on the blocking of the piece.

Committee Decision: Disqualified, no final sweeps points. Retained sweeps points up to finals.

2023 2A State Speech Championships
Grievance: Student was put at bottom of round for not moving in HSA which is not a stated rule.

Discovery: Reviewed ballots completed by the judge. Talked to the judge.

Committee Decision: Even though spacing was prominently mentioned on ballots, that was not a deciding factor for the final rankings. Rankings stay as is.

Grievance: Coach concerned that one of their duos was judged by an assistant coach from another school that could have possible bias because the judge’s school also had a duo performing the same piece. Grieving coach’s duo had not earned any scores except 1st or 2nd throughout prelims and finals the entire season. When looking over the ballot from state, no suggestions or negative feedback was provided to support being ranked 6th. Grieving coach would like to see a Rule 52 violation for unsportsmanlike conduct and removal from judge pool at all future KSHSAA events.

Discovery: Reviewed judge’s ballots.

Committee Decision: Insufficient evidence/grounds to overturn the judge’s rankings. The lower ranked performances all had positive feedback that outweighed the negative. This remained consistent for the grievanced ballot.

Grievance: At a crucial part of a performer’s poem, the judge’s phone went off. The judge picked it up and looked at it for about 30 seconds. The student felt like the judge lost interest in the piece, felt disrespected and feels it affected the performance.

Discovery: 1. Rule 52, Section 1 lists disrespectful noises as unacceptable behavior. 2. Judges received directions to shut off all phones. 3. Student and judge both indicate that the judge’s phone rang during the performance. 4. The interruption had no bearing on the student’s ranking.

Committee Decision: Judge received a warning as the ringing cell phone violates Rule 52, Section 1, be courteous to all, and the provided judges’ directions. The committee requested that the tournament director issue another reminder of the cell phone rule. The student’s ranking stands.

2022 5A State Speech Championship
Grievance: Pursuant to rules in the KSHSAA Manual, Sec. 7, page 34, “no judge shall serve as a timekeeper.” Official grievance was received concerning Poetry in Round 1 for a ballot comment regarding time in combination with rank and quality points where no timekeeper was present.

Discovery: The KSHSAA Manual outlines Grievance Procedures in Sec. 13, pages 34-35. However, there are no references in any subsections (consisting of A-G) to remedies for judge timekeeping. On discussion with the judge in question, it was determined through firsthand testimony that the timekeeping of the round did not adversely influence, or influence at all, the decision by the judge of final rankings and/or quality points for that round.

Committee Decision: It was the decision of the committee pursuant to Sec. 13, Sub. F., page 35, to warn the judge against future timekeeping violations, and that the recorded ranks and quality points from the round in question remain as recorded.

2022 2A State Speech Championship
Grievance: Team judged at the bottom of the round because of 7:30 time. Timer held up 7 ½ card. Team was confused thinking it had ½ time left but time was up. Needed a “STOP” card.

Discovery: Timer failed to follow proper procedure. Time went up from 1, instead of down.

Committee Decision: Time disregarded. Score based on performance only.

2022 1A State Speech Championship
Grievance: A performance (The Big Bang by Boyd Graham) seemed the same as the National Forensics League champs.

Discovery: The judge had prior knowledge of the piece from previously performing it herself and studying the video performance during her high school career. It was immediately apparent to the judge the performance was ripped/plagiarized from the NSDA video. She recalled specific details and blocking that matched the link she was able to provide. The grieved team’s coach indicated changes to blocking had been made in practice; however, none were apparent to the judge. No copy of the cut/highlighted script was available.

Committee Decision: Disqualification from the entire tournament.

Grievance: IDA performer used crutches as a central part of the character. Verbally referenced character’s broken leg breaking rule of using props during a performance.

Discovery: Grieved team’s coach stated that the team referenced one character’s broken legs as a reason she couldn’t race anymore. Only one of the three judges was available and said a verbal reference was made, the crutches were not used as part of the performance. The student was not wearing a cast or boot but was on crutches. The rules were not violated as the crutches were not used as a prop.

Committee Decision: No action

2021 6A State Speech Championship
Grievance: In round one of poetry, the first competitor in the room started her performance in poetry by moving about the room. Another competitor said that she believed she had joined the wrong room because she thought the student was performing a POI, where you can move. The manual clearly states, “with the exception of a small step at transitions, the performer’s feet shall not move.”

Discovery: The Grievance Committee spoke with the judge. The judge indicated that no one in the round moved in a way that allowed the judge to speak as to whether feet were moved during the performance. The judge additionally indicated that there were no significant differences between any of the performances in terms of movement.

Committee Decision: No action

Grievance: The judge penalized the student for going over time. The only comment on the ballot was "Way over time and I hate that because I really loved the speech. Good job!"

Discovery: Upon hearing the grievance on a Judge’s use of time as a factor in their rankings in Informative-10, the grievance committee used the following factors in determining their decision: (a.) The judge acknowledges they did not read the rules about time limits/an official timekeeper. (b.) The judge states they would “absolutely rank the student #1 if time were not a consideration.” (c.) The precedence for this decision exists because we have this grievance in one form or another every year.

Committee Decision: Committee decides the judge ought to re-rank their round of Informative-10 without penalizing students for time as a consideration in their decision making.

Grievance: Judge's comment to one school’s competitors was "shouldn't you all be split screened?" (Tournament was Virtual). Coach wanted to verify that the judge knew the rule that students can share a screen. Would judge’s rankings change if she knows that students can share a screen?

Discovery: The committee considered the grievance and the ballot comments and ruled on precedent to inform the judge of the rule and to offer her the opportunity to revise her rankings if she saw fit. Upon questioning, the judge indicated that she was aware there was no prohibition against non-split screen performances and that her rankings would stand as recorded.

Committee Decision: No action

Grievance: Student started performing then stopped after introduction and asked to start again after 3rd judge came into room. Ballots reflect that "it was unfortunate that you gave up during intro and had to restart."

Discovery: The committee finds that there was not a protest able rule violation in this instance. However, they did feel it was appropriate to inform the two judges who commented about the competitor starting over about the reason why she started over (only two judges were present when she started) and give both of those judges the opportunity to re-rank the student within the round.

Committee Decision: The host spoke to both judges and both judges declined to re-rank the student.

March 2017 - After the conclusion of round one it was brought to the Host Site Invitational Manager’s attention by the judge’s chair (and a parent that was originally scheduled for inform - who ended up judging HI) that our inform and oration panels were stripped of the adult and replaced with an additional senior college credit student). Several coaches asked about the panels and at the time I knew we had 4 students and the adult. We had scheduled panels for our Rounds 1 and 2 Inform, Oration rooms that consisted of 1 parent and 4 college credit seniors not enrolled or competing in forensics - with the parent ballot to be the "official score" and the other four ballots scored by the cc seniors but not used in the tabulation of the tournament and returned to the students competing. Each CC speech student was issued ballots and the parent judge was to use the competitor ballots as normal. It took quite some time to receive results for round 1 for inform and oration as we were trying to ascertain what happened with round 1. We chose to utilize the scores the panel provided. We subsequently removed the cc speech students from the panels round 2 and only used adult judges. Looking at what happened we will not be continuing this practice. It was well intended for the competitors to receive more feedback and the cc students to see quality speech pretensions.

KSHSAA Ruling: Total the events in question with round 2, 3, and finals judges, and re-submit the qualifiers to the KSHSAA.

April 2014 – “Rosa’s Lament” was performed as a prose and it is published as a dramatic solo. The grievance committee disqualified the selection because it is a scripted piece and as stated in rules it cannot be performed as a prose.

February 2013 –“From the Flow” by Janet O’Neil from the book Turning Points was performed as a poetry event and a grievance was filed. It is NOT published as poetry and should therefore not be allowed in that event. Ruling: the grievance was upheld and the student was disqualified from sweeps points, but not to pull individual ballots.

February 2013 – “Henry V” was performed in poetry and was challenged because it is from a script. Section 3b specifically states that no play scripts be used in Poetry. Ruling: Shakespeare’s “Henry V” is a script and is not allowable in Poetry Pg. 33 –Sec 3b. The student was disqualified from finals but prelim results will stand.

January 2013 – A coach filed a grievance against a student that alleged he had violated the duplication rule addressed in Sec. 8 of the KSHSAA Speech Manual. After meeting with the student’s coach, the grievance committee determined that there was enough similarity between the two orations (the one he gave last year and the one he was giving this year) to find in favor of the coach filing the grievance. The student was disqualified and lost all sweeps points he had accumulated in the event.

May 2012 – Student was reciting piece from blank agenda in prose. Student did not have manuscript with them. Student was disqualified for violation of Sec. 3a. on page 34 of manual.

May 2012 – Student used a legal pad during Impromptu speech. Student was disqualified for violation of Sec 6 of Impromptu rules on Page 37 of manual.

May 2012 – Judge served as potential timekeeper – potential lowering of ranking. Grievance committee talked to judge which stated time was not a factor for ranking. They also informed judge not to keep time in future. Ranking was not changed.

May 2012 – Dramatic Interp student used a chair. Grievance committee ruled student to be ranked last in the section based on Dramatic Interp rule on page 36, section I. It indicates that selection will be performed without the use of physical objects.

May 2012 – Manual states that performing in the wrong room gets the last rank. However, after student performed then realized mistake and went to correct room and performed a 2nd time in the same round. Grievance committee ruled even though student performed in correct room it was after performing in wrong room and thus supported decision of manager for student to be ranked last in round.

May 2012 – Judge interrupted student’s Duo performance indicating they were offended but then allowed them to finish. Judge was interviewed and indicated the stoppage did not affect the score. Grievance committee suggested language be added to manual that a judge may not stop a performance at any time.

March 2012 – Students were caught using their cell phones while in gym prep-room and disqualified from the round.

February 2012 – It was ruled by a grievance committee that “Missing Natalie” by Nicole Blackman is a poetry selection, not prose. This piece was performed by two different students from two different schools, one as a prose and the other as poetry.

February 2012- A coach self-reported that one of their students changed their prose selection after their first round to a piece that the student had performed last year. In order to prevent any further violation, the student was disqualified from the event.

February 2012- A student was disqualified for performing a poetry selection (Beowulf, a new verse translation by Seamus Heaney) in prose competition.



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Current Champions
Lawrence-Free State
Kansas City-Sumner Academy
Norton Community

[Previous State Champions]


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