Invited speaker Pieter Vlieland on behalf of ‘Dignity in Dying’ and Dominica Roberts from the ‘Care not Killing’ group visited the Anglo European School to debate euthanasia in front of the school’s sixth form students.
Upper sixth student Kevin Pearce gives his account of this special event:
“Two very experienced speakers had a strong willed debate about assisted suicide. Pieter Vlieland, a former Journalist who was chief reporter for the Brentwood Gazette in 1954, now part of the charity ‘Dignity not Dying’ argued to the students the positives of changing the laws on assisted suicide, making it legal. Opposing him was Dominica Roberts from the ‘Care Not Killing’ group. Although opponents, their chemistry was amazing and the debate had an ambience feigning an episode of BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’.
An entire hall full of students fell silent as the debate went on. The interest of the students became clear when the floor was opened up for questions with many hands raised. The questions from the students were clear and heavy, not shying away from ethical and international issues, reflective of the school’s student base. As the questions came in the debate got more and more heated, turning the debate more into a reflection of an afternoon in Parliament than a BBC program.
Whilst Mr Vlieland played on sympathy and Mrs Roberts preyed on fear, the students were inquisitive and thoughtful, with the winner, as voted by the students, being Pieter. The whole event gave the sixth form students an insight into the analytical aspect of politics with the speakers remaining afterwards to answer questions.
This comes just weeks after four of the school’s sixth form students won a regional debating competition advancing into the next round taking place in Cambridge in March 2015. With all that is happening, it may be the case that this is the school that will produce some of our future politicians.”