February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET
5 months ago

Spanking bill in Kansas sparks controversy

(CNN) - A Kansas state lawmaker says a bill she's introduced that would give school teachers and caregivers expanded rights to spank children is not "intended to legalize child abuse."

Democratic state representative Gail Finney of Wichita put out a statement Tuesday after media stories about her legislation, which would expand on current Kansas law by allowing teachers and caregivers to spank children up to 10 times, possibly causing redness and bruising.

The legislation specifically would allow for spankings "up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child and any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."

In her statement, Finney said that "Parental corporal discipline in Kansas, along with 49 other states, has always been permitted. Unfortunately, Kansas has never affirmatively, expressly defined corporal discipline in Kansas statute, leaving the interpretation of that matter to administrative officials in the executive branch, law enforcement personnel, and the judicial branch."

Finney went on to write that her bill "is intended to (i) provide guidance to state officials in the administrative and judicial branches; (ii) serve as a guideline to parents; and (iii) protect Kansas children from abuse."

Some in Kansas are voicing opposition to the bill.

"Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now. So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child," pediatric nurse practitioner Amy Terreros, a child abuse expert at Children's Mercy Hospital, told CNN affiliate KCTV in Kansas City, Missouri.

Rep. John Rubin, chairman of the Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, said he isn't sure the committee will consider the bill, according to KCTV.


Filed under: Kansas
soundoff (547 Responses)
  1. Britt

    more school shootings for sure now.

    February 19, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. ghastly

    The problem belongs to the parents. Let the parents handle it. If they don't handle the problem.....kick the problem out of school.

    February 19, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Donna

    Old_Hippie
    OK, yes she is a Democrat but she is also from Kansas. Enough said.
    --

    OK, so let's see if we have this correct. You are saying black female Democrats from Kansas are crazy.

    February 19, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. simple comment

    Okay... Another stupid regulation that may be passed and will be somehow backfire. In that light, underwear companies should start increasing their production if this bill proved to be the best way teachers can punish their students...

    February 19, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Michael

    Only a lazy low life deliberately inflicts pain on a child. Parents who allow this only have themselves to blame when their child comes home with bruises.

    February 19, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. 1whoknowz

    In India if a child is disruptive or disrespectful, teachers are allowed to give the youth a slap across the face. Incidentally the education system in India is world renowned and our own American companies are hiring Indians because they are intelligent, well disciplined, and respectful. Maybe they're on to something...

    February 19, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. mfh

    Spare the rod spoil the child.

    February 19, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. hippie power 69

    no one should be hitting their children. that is not the way to teach a child, that just shows them that might makes right. someday that child will be bigger and stronger then you and then the shoe will be on the other foot. is that ok with you then? well dad, you didn't do what I wanted you to, so i hit you. no, there must be a better way.

    February 19, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Tony D

    The Real Tom Paine
    My ethnicity is Scottish, but I don't have an overwhelming desire to play bagpipes, toss cabers, or skin horse thieves alive like my ancestors did.
    -–

    Hey take your problems up with Anon. They are the ones excusing this because of slavery, not me. I guess you didn't get the sarcasm in the response to them. You need to get off your high horse and read a little closer.

    BTW, I'll bet you are tight with your money though! hahahaha....

    February 19, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. tadpole

    Political suicide.

    February 19, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Donna
    Old_Hippie
    OK, yes she is a Democrat but she is also from Kansas. Enough said.
    -
    OK, so let's see if we have this correct. You are saying black female Democrats from Kansas are crazy.
    -----–
    Actually anyone who attempts to force their religious sub-sect violence into MY public school is no better than the Taliban. Keep your hands and your religion off my kid.

    February 19, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Kansas Slim

    What's the matter with Kansas?

    February 19, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Real Tom Paine
    Well, how ironic the comment about being a partisan hack was , in light of this person's haste to use it without checking a little more. Oh well, people will be, well, people.
    -----------------
    I know...my little bonding moment with tom l went out the window because he misunderstood my post.
    I think that we tend to fall back to "type" so to speak with each other.
    We refuse to believe that more binds us as humans with common experiences, needs, and wants than what divides us across imaginary Party lines, where no one but the Parties profit.
    Stop the partisanship. Stop the hate.
    *********************************
    For some, their hate defines them. People who cannot say what they believe in, only what they are against, are doomed to live a cheerless existance. Their decision-making may be easy, but their lives are a misery. The sad thing is that its by their own choice, and it covers the whole spectrum of beliefs.

    February 19, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Horus

    'Spare the rod...blah, blah, blah"

    You may as well say: I'm a weak-minded parrot.

    February 19, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. charles

    Parents have to wakeup and take responsibility of disciplining their kids. They surrendered their responsibilities to the courts, government and social workers who always claims to be art best interest of these kids. I agree there are some few bad parents , but no one can be better to understand the kids needs than their parents.

    February 19, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. ditdahdit

    A Democrat from the far-right bastion of Wichita? In some parts of Kansas the local Democratic party only serves as a vehicle for Republicans to run against each other. I suspect this is just such a case.

    February 19, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Revery

    Nobody should be touching anyone else's child. As a kid who was 6'2" by 7th grade, if a teacher tried to hit me then I'd come out with my dukes up. Certainly would not have been willing to submit to ten physical strikes.

    February 19, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Yes It's Not

    Kansas and Floriduh, the comic relief of the United States of America.

    February 19, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    1whoknowz

    In India if a child is disruptive or disrespectful, teachers are allowed to give the youth a slap across the face. Incidentally the education system in India is world renowned and our own American companies are hiring Indians because they are intelligent, well disciplined, and respectful. Maybe they're on to something
    -------------------------------------------------
    Agree 100% on the outstanding educational system in India and other countries ( my birth country included, where if you did not pass final exams you could be an 18 year-old 6th grader).
    I do take exception to that whole "slap across the face" thingy.
    As much as my mother (who was the disciplinarian in our family) did NOT spare the rod, she NEVER smacked me in the face. Nor has anyone else to date.
    We consider a smack in the face to be demeaning and extremely disrespectful.
    We still do. Please do not ask me to explain.

    February 19, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. General Patton

    If my child has a problem at school, just send him home with a letter to me with a day and time to come in with him and discuss the matter. As judge, jury and executioner, I will decide the appropriate punishment. I will teach my children to be respectful, disciplined and non-disruptive before they go to school. I will work with you to ensure my children are there to learn but there may be times when problems arise, such as bullying, threats or physical assaults by other kids, etc. and those must be addressed appropriately.

    Bottom line is work with parents and parents work with teachers. Parents also need to be parents and do the tough things, like discipline. You do your kids no good by letting them believe they can do anything at anytime to anybody without fear of consequences.

    February 19, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Partha

    1whoknowz – please don't present distorted info.

    I grew up in India and I've never seen teachers slapping kids on the face. It's more like a wooden ruler strike on the palm, twist of the ear lobe or other means like make the kid stand on the bench or stand outside the classroom.

    February 19, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Been There

    Having grown up in Wichita and having experienced the "swat" from the school principal I will say that in my case it was a positive experience. It hurt–and the pain was the wake up call I needed. The other aspect which was even more effective in my case was the humiliation in knowing I had crossed the line. I didn't want to see myself as needing a swat in order to behave so I found the way to control myself–it never happened again. Now and then my parents would give me a "hand" but it never had a sting to it–more like a push. The school principal used a wood paddle. What really made an impression was that my parents never knew about it. The incident was between myself and Mr. Peterson. That mattered a lot.

    February 19, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. jboh

    If the parents did it, the teachers wouldn't need to.

    February 19, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. sly

    Under Stand My Ground, it is legal to execute anyone who strikes your child.

    So bring it Kansans – you'd be doing America a favor anyhow, freeing up oxygen for the more intelligent states.

    February 19, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    ditdahdit

    A Democrat from the far-right bastion of Wichita? In some parts of Kansas the local Democratic party only serves as a vehicle for Republicans to run against each other. I suspect this is just such a case.
    -------------------------
    I think that a lot of people would be surprised to learn that out of all of the major social demographics in this country, black Americans have the highest percentage of people who identify as socially conservative.

    February 19, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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