February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET
6 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. Thomas

    If we taught Gun safety to 1st graders , and let them carry a gun to school , spanking would be a thing of the past .

    If Guns are outlawed , only Spankers will have Guns !

    February 19, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "I'm sure this would not apply to the children with afluenza."

    Nah, stuff like this is usually meant only for the "urban" ones.

    February 19, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Kansas has truly sunken to the bottom of the barrel. These guys have become the epitome of stupid when it comes to legislation.

    February 19, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Kansas

    Ummm... Redness? Yes. Bruising? Not so much. I could understand up to 10 on a "hardcore" brat that comes in with the intent to do harm on peers and teachers. Those children are already having issues outside of school and need redirection to understand that disrespectful behavior is unacceptable. But they need to put more thought into breaking this down. I cannot see it being considered reasonable to swat a toddler repeatedly 10 times or to allow bruising to occur on a toddler. I've had to give my kids a swift swat on the butt but 1-3 times was more than enough to get the point across, and it was for necessary reasons where scolding them and "time-out" wouldn't have been an appropriate discipline.

    February 19, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -HenryMiller

    "...possibly causing redness and bruising."

    Oh, the horror! Redness! Bruising! Shocking!

    Sometimes kids need a swat on the butt just to get their attention
    ****************************
    If parents bothered to teach their kids about respect in the first place, we would not be having this discussion.

    February 19, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If parents bothered to teach their kids about respect in the first place, we would not be having this discussion.
    -=-----------------------------------------------–
    Correct.
    In my house I was the law. The alpha and the omega.
    My sons dared not....lest they have to come home and explain what happened to me.
    Very simple really.
    Parents today need to stop trying to be their kids BFF's and teach them to respect them, themselves, and others.
    Period.

    February 19, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Kansas

    On more thought. I grew up in Kansas, I've lived here most of my life, I'll be 28 next month. Spanking in school, with a paddle was allowed until my 5th grade year... And we had more respectful kids that stayed out of the system and didn't cause problems. We had hunters safety, pocket knives in our pockets, and even my senior year of high school (2004), we would have shotguns and rifles in our gun racks and NEVER threw ridiculous temper tamtrums and NEVER went on shooting rampages because we may disagree, our feelings may get hurt, but we respected our families, our peers, our teachers, and our communities. There is nothing barbaric about wanting these wanna-be thugs, "gangstas", and bullies to be disciplined in schools... BUT, if their behavior is that disrespectful and out of control spanking isn't the only step that needs to be taken; grade schoolers are easier to redirect bc their "problems" are just beginning. Middle schoolers/high schoolers, they need to take the time to figure out why they're behaving that way, they may be having problems at home or with peers and may be behaving that way bc they feel like they have no one to lean on or talk to.

    February 19, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @HenryMiller
    "...possibly causing redness and bruising."
    Oh, the horror! Redness! Bruising! Shocking!
    Sometimes kids need a swat on the butt just to get their attention.
    ----------–
    The same has been said about wives. Let's all try to move forwards into the future OK?

    February 19, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    I've agreed with everything you've said this morning on this subject Tom P. But for some reason I can't comment.

    February 19, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. rs

    Wake up People!

    Hi rs, isn't this a democratic bill?
    ______________________
    Gack! Yes, but this is Kansas! Yes, my normal critique of the Right here is unjustified- and boy this is a prime example of what government ought not do! Legislating at this level is simply un-necessary and uncalled for- regardless of party.

    February 19, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Thomas
    If we taught Gun safety to 1st graders , and let them carry a gun to school , spanking would be a thing of the past .

    If Guns are outlawed , only Spankers will have Guns !
    -------------
    Now that is progress (not)! Hit the kids. Guns for all young and old. Shoot it out. Attila the Hun for president!
    If space aliens ever do visit here, they will skip over us as the center of civilization as first contact.

    February 19, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Gunderson

    What!,
    You mean a bit of corporal punishment is out! Spare the rod, spoil the child. Well that worked out well, didn't it? Now we have about completed the Nanny State and no one knows how to do anything.

    Reminds me of a story about Pidgins. For many years a town fed the Pidgins in the park. They they couldn't afford to feed the pidgins any more. So they stopped feeding them. A bit later they saw the pidgins were dying! Now you would think those pidgins would know how to forage for themselves. Not so! They had been pampered too long! So after some thinking they went out and captured a number of wild pidgins and released them among the dying pidgins so they could learn how to forage again. For you nanny staters a bit of discipline won't hurt anyone.

    of course if you still need your Nanny........

    February 19, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Steve Allard

    Sounds good to me. How about throwing in some water-boarding too? As long as this stays below the Mason-Dixon line they can have at it.

    February 19, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Humans need to look at other species for guidance. The answer is there, and it IS simple.

    February 19, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Kevin

    There is more than one way to skin a cat. The world would be a much better place if we would be willing to accept that there are more ways to instill discipline and respect than the methods we may know best or have been raised with. Spanking and hitting is o e such antiquated method.

    So odd that hitting a child is ok. If I hit an adult, I go to jail. If I hit an animal, I go to jail. What are we really teaching kids by hitting? Fear and violence, that's what. Anyone who would hit a child and tries to justify it is simply short sighted.

    So many other thoughts on this. I'll stop here. News from Kansas lately makes me sad for the world.

    February 19, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. SixDegrees

    Kansas. What a surprise.

    Nice to see that it's not just the GOP that's dragging their knuckles, though.

    February 19, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. maggie

    what is wrong with kansas?

    February 19, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Mark

    When parents of 12 year old Johnny found out that their son had been enjoying himself while looking at S M websites, Johnny's Mom asked her husband, "Oh no! What do we do!?!?!".

    Johnny's father exclaimed, "Well...I guess we can't spank him..."

    February 19, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. PK

    This clearly amounts to assault and child abuse. God help the teacher who lays a hand on my child. Discipline is my job.

    February 19, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Bob

    Thank god!! These little brats need spankings. Kids are just out of control now a days and have no respect.

    February 19, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Opposed to such methods!

    The problem with this: First you really need parental permission. Secondly, and more imporantly...what you deem punishable by a spanking may not be what I deem is appropriate punishment. Therefore, parental permission is absolutely a necessity!!

    February 19, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. KellyF

    This is INSANE. Anyone thinks they can pass a law making it LEGAL for anyone basically to put their hands on my child and redden or bruise? Not gonna get reelected by me.

    February 19, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Mark Gerardy

    When a problem comes along you must whip it...
    When something's going wrong you must whip it...

    February 19, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. ralph

    Kansas, making the rest of America look smart since 1861.

    February 19, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. wendel

    stupid idea Kansas has really become a stupid state.

    February 19, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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