The Massachusetts Speech & Debate League was established in 1958 as an organization to promote interest in speech training through interscholastic debate and competitive oratory, interpretive speaking and interpretive oral reading. The group also does business under the name “Massachusetts Forensic League”. Its mission is:
- To provide the opportunity for students to practice and refine communication skills - To teach analytical, critical thinking and rhetorical skills - To help students develop self-confidence through the vehicle of competitive speech and debate - To provide an opportunity for students to connect with others - To encourage students to examine their values - To encourage students to work together effectively
• Any Massachusetts high school that is a member in good standing with the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association or Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) may join as a member of the MSDL and participate in any of the league events upon complying with all terms and conditions established by the Board of Directors.
• Any non-Massachusetts high school from an adjoining state that has no equivalent state-level forensics organization may also join as a member chapter of the MSDL and participate in any of the league events upon complying with all terms and conditions established by the Board of Directors. Such schools must belong to AISNE or their equivalent state secondary school administrators association.
• Students may participate in MSDL events provided that they have been approved by the principal and coach of the individual member school. However, no student may participate who does not meet the requirements established by the Administrators Association for athletic contests.
• The MSDL consists of high schools. High school is defined as grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. Students in grades 6, 7 & 8 may attend MSDL tournaments only at the explicit invitation of tournament directors, and must do so as part of a separate team from a high school, even if the high school is the same school or school system as the middle school.