Fort Lauderdale attorney Jonathan Pollard began his latest debate venture on Wednesday at the Urban League of Broward County. During the first session, a group of middle school students were given a list of ten rights guaranteed by American law and told they could only keep five. The rights at issue included the right to vote, right to freedom of speech, right to a jury trial, and right to bear arms among others. After selecting the five rights they would keep, the students debated the merits of their selections and argued about how some rights encompass others.
Pollard has three goals for the new debate club: First, to give the participants a foundation in argumentation, debate and public speaking. Second, to expose middle schoolers to speech and debate and prepare them to compete interscholastically. And finally, if possible, to use the local Urban League as a vehicle for providing more debate-related opportunities to local students at disadvantaged high schools.
This is not the first time Pollard has launched a debate initiative in Broward County. In 2010, Pollard started, coached and funded a speech & debate program at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lake. The team competed against traditional South Florida powerhouses such as St. Thomas Aquinas, The University School, Nova High School and others. After two years of hard work, two students from the program advanced to the national championship tournament with one placing 9th in the country. In 2014, the City of Lauderdale Lakes honored Pollard for his efforts proclaiming November 24th Jonathan Pollard Day.
Pollard is the principal of Pollard PLLC, a Fort Lauderdale-based litigation boutique focused on competition law. But he has long been involved in education and education reform. Prior to law school, he taught high school English in Baltimore.