February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET
10 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. Richard Right

    Have you taught at an inner city elementary school where students pay no attention to verbal reprimands? What do you do when parents do nothing about discipline? Perhaps that is why this law was proposed.

    February 19, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. Concerned occupant of Earth

    Why do you people thank there are so many kids running around with no respect for anything or anyone? Dicipline is not allowed at any level. The schools are not allowed to dicipline because of cry baby parents and if parents dicipline their own children then the kids can simply call CPS and report that they are being abusive.

    February 19, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. emskadittle

    so is it a game to see can introduce the stupidest legislation, I think it well past time that politicians get to work on meaningful legislation

    February 19, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Brett

    Next Brilliant bill coming from Kansas: Employers are allowed to whip disobedient employees... but only 10 times per whipping session. Lesions and scarring are acceptable.

    February 19, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. Concerned occupant of Earth

    I did not mean that the parents are hitting the kids, but if a kid gets scraped up falling while riding his bike and gets scraped and bruised, and the next day they get grounded for not doing their chores, they can then call CPS and report that the bruising and scrapes were caused by their parent smacking them around. Sadly this kind of thing does happen. It is the unfortunate state of our culture.

    February 19, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. Rob

    Our elected officials are the ones who deserve to get spanked.

    February 19, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Dorothy

    Good thing we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

    February 19, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. JD

    My school was able to give corporal punishment in every grade I was ever in. I was paddled in kindergarten and never again after that. I learned to follow the rules. I can tell you that most of the kids were better behaved because of corporal punishment. Here is a thought; if a child follows the rules then they will not have to worry about getting punished. Regardless of what that punishment is determined to be. As long as the rules and punishments for breaking the rules are clearly defined I have no issues with it.

    February 19, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. Bs

    Can we get a bill that allows the spanking of politicians?

    February 19, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. bnakka

    This country knows nothing about raising kids, they think buying them toys and giving them money will raise them into productive members of society. This country is so absurd. You don't discipline kids young they turn belligerent not the other way around. Sometimes you just can't discipline kids without a spanking. That is not harmful for the kid, not spanking them to teach them is much worse. Maybe that is the reason we have so much violence in schools these days.

    I was spanked as a child if I was born in this country that would be considered abuse not borderline. Yet, I turned out to be a productive person never had mental issues due to the spanking.

    February 19, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. WestsacVoice

    I recall the days I went to school and my parents signed a consent form for corporal punishment. The principal had a paddle displayed clearly so everyone new how the punishment is applied. What kids did back then was far less than what they do now in terms of misbehaving. I hear kids actually assaulting each other in groups, rather than one-on-one and even assaulting teachers without fear of consequences.

    While most people don't agree or researchers have said physical punishment is not effective, I would like to know the solution to getting kids to behave as they did when I was in school. I fear for my own kids now, not from teachers but from other kids who have absolutely no fear of authority and repercussions.

    February 19, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  12. Guest

    Nobody, should ever hit a child. I'm from Sweden and spanking children has been ILLEGAL since I was a little. You don't want your children to fear you, you want them to respect that what you say is in their best interest. What a step backwards. What's next – legal child marriage?

    February 19, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. ChrisM

    Absolutely disgusting. Are the legislators in Kansas out of their minds. No one hits my Child. NO ONE

    February 19, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. K Todd

    Not gonna debate anyone at all, just giving my own perspective. Grew up being beat with belts, so did my husband. When I was pregnant with my first, we just knew we wanted to do things differently. So we read all kinds of stuff, pro and con discipline techniques, attachment parenting, etc, etc, and to us it just didn't feel right to us that hitting our kid would be okay. It wasn't easy that's for sure. I had grown up with being hit and being taught to respect elders and all that, but we tried it our way, what felt right. We co-slept, extend breastfeed, attachment parenting, never let him cry it out, and all that stuff. Well he's 17 now and wow what a great kid. Couldn't ask for a better kid, seriously. He's a drummer in three bands, gets straight A's, I've gotten calls from teachers praising his good behavior over the years, he loves his little brother and sister, he does the right thing even if his friends, peers don't. Also raised his little brother and sister the same way, never hit them, never punished. If they did something we didnt like, we talked it out and had them come up with a way to make the bad situation right. We respected them and treated them as equals and hey, they gave that respect right back to us. My daughter 11 is an advocate for the bullied in her school and has gone to the authorities in her school several times over situations she felt were wrong. My younger son 15, is a theater nut, loves to act and perform, he is just a great kid and you know, I'm not saying this to brag at all. I know all kids are different and parents have the right to raise as they see fit. I only post this to show that raising a good kid IS VERY POSSIBLE without hitting them. I'm glad that we took the leap and I think my kids are too.

    February 19, 2014 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. Jesse

    I love how this is so one-sided. This interview does not represent the full spectrum of views on this issue.

    February 19, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. Lil Jimmy

    Is that 10 times per second?

    February 19, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. Allen

    This should never have been taken out of schools.

    February 19, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. Aurthor

    Take a good look at the attitudes of the state governments in those states. Look at how out of control they act. Spanking must be the results of those attitudes.

    February 19, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. Bill

    Today's generation suffers from the inability of their parents to give them a red backside when needed.

    February 19, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  20. Diogenes

    Teachers who assault children have a name: CHILD MOLESTER

    Retaliation comes out of the dark and strikes with devastation and anonymity.

    February 19, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. barb'sbarb

    Thank goodness we don't live in Kansas! The people there seem to be regressing to the Dark Ages. What next? Chastity belts? Drawing and quartering?

    February 19, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  22. carol

    I never understood why, when a child hit someone, the parent would hit them & tell them, "don't hit". I never hit my kids. They've never been in trouble. I respected them as individuals and taught them to respect others. Hitting is never the answer.

    February 19, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. elvinmerij

    I feel like I'm reading a Muslim rule-book ("up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm....")

    February 19, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  24. Visara

    It's okay to spank your own children, but if someone lays their hands on my kids, I lay my hands on them.

    February 19, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. NSL

    Any teacher who spanked my kid would get the same back from me one thousand fold. If that would put me in jail, so be it, because spanking is assault unless consensual and minors don't have the wherewithal to consent, and I have a right to defend my children from assault.

    February 19, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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