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. philthese

    Parents try too hard to be their kids friends and not the parent and refuse to punish. Time out is weak and stupid. I have spanked my kids. They did not do again what they did wrong. It wasn't my first resort, but more of the 3rd strike. I was spanked as a child at school. I made damn sure I didn't do what I did wrong again. I would not let my children be spanked at school though. That is my right as a parent and if my kid did something wrong enough to get a spanking I damn well should have received a note home from the school stating the infraction so I can determine if a spanking is appropriate and deal that punishment as I see fit. Just like the law, I would not subject my kids to double jeopardy by letting them get spanked at school then getting punished at home. That is kind of messed up.

    February 19, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Enough is Enough

    @ emarrassed – more progressive drivel......you are worried about obesity ahead of behavior – your priorities are backwards

    February 19, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. adamdocherty

    If you need to spank your child or "a child" you failed miserably in your effort to educate them.

    February 19, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Wake up People!

    DM, I couldn't agree more!!!

    February 19, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. robert

    Well I tell yah spanking at school is something I don't go for. If they spank my child and I wld find out I will gladly show them what a spanking is all about... If anyone gonna do the spanking it will me as I see fit. I have a good kid but I am n no way for School spanking. And if my kid came home with bruises it gonnia be bad for ever who done it... for teachers to want to hit a childs hand ten times till its red is a outrage something I better never see on my kid

    February 19, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -tom l

    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.

    =====

    Holy cake! I 100% agree with you and wish we had more parents like you (just as long as you didn't talk politics with them! )

    But seriously, I couldn't agree more.
    ********************
    FYI, Tom, she was quoting me, lol. I'm old school, and the teaching of respect begins and ends with me and my wife. My kids know this, and do a decent job of toeing the line. My wife actually has other parents call her asking her for advice. Parents are the ultimate role models, and in a time when selfishness has become enshrined in our society as the highest form of virtue, it becomes even more important that we remember what our job is: to prepare them for the outside world, not to cater to their every whim, and leave the parenting to others who should not have this dropped into their laps.

    February 19, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Liz

    It kids can't learn in the Union Controlled Democratic public school system, then "beat them". The new Democratic Party, a party of force. Just like forcing Obama Care down the throats of adults.

    February 19, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Jesse

    Well Jim if you raised your children properly and they weren't such rude little snots then people wouldn't want to hit your kids.....

    February 19, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Jennifer Lapietra

    So...What would the discerning babies think?

    February 19, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Andrew

    Kansas you are on a ROLL! /sarcasm off.

    February 19, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ tom l
    You and I actually have some political points in common as well tom l.
    I've read enough of your "nephew's" posts to know ;)!
    But seriously, sometimes I think that parents have simply abdicated their responsibility to properly raise their kids, or haven't been raised properly themselves.
    Thanks for the compliment though.
    I am indeed very proud of the two men I call my sons.

    February 19, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Hogarth

    Throughout my entire school career, I never saw a teacher physically discipline a kid by striking them. I can't say it never happened, but it sure wasn't common if it did.
    To those railing about how this "legalizes child abuse" – as the article points out, corporal punishment in schools is already legal; all the bill would do is codify a LIMIT to how many times a child could be struck. It doesn't make something legal that wasn't legal before.

    February 19, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Critical Thinker

    Should we have a law authorizing spanking of Tea Party politicians for bad behavior? Kind of like an executioner, but wielding a paddle instead. We could watch it on CSPAN.

    February 19, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Joe

    I like the "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" so if they put up a fight you could tie them down? Maybe we should start a fight club in the schools?

    February 19, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    -RIchard Long

    [Sarcastically] Children need to live in a world void of repercussions of their actions so they grow up to be adults who don't care about the repercussions of their actions.
    It is time to release rapists and murderers from prison and just send them to time out.
    It is time to limit the police to just telling people to, "Stop! Or I'll tell you to stop again. (Only in an elevated voice, never yelling because you might hurt the criminal's self esteem).
    **************
    or we could just shoot into a car because the stereo is too loud, or get drunk and wipe out 4 people on a highway and claim affluenza. How about shooting a man because he was texting and you thought his popcorn was a weapon? This is the world we live in. It begins, and ends with respect.

    February 19, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. peterz

    Kid's "know" and adult's "know" were different but they were equal and essential for each. A lifetime mistake made on kid if adult crossing the line.

    February 19, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. MightyMoo

    You know, if things are to the point where spanking a child is considered child abuse and they have to legislate something as crazy as this then good on them. When I was growing up I got a tanned backside quite a few times when I got out of line and I grew up fine. I wasn't abused, I wasn't mistreated, I was CORRECTED. Honestly a few more tanned backsides in America might set the out of line kids more streight these days.

    February 19, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Fozman

    Why do I think that some of the legislatiors were sexually aroused when they wrote this bill?

    February 19, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Central Kansan

    I would expect the school to inform me of my child's misbehavior so I can deliver my own punishment. I see the uses for spanking but I do not want anyone to deliver it besides my wife and I.

    February 19, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. resident

    When I was in grade school I knew that if I was paddled in school I was going to be paddled at home as well. Parents who believe that their kids are incapable of doing wrong and refuse to support the teachers have been the dearth of our schools for many years and have contributed to our increasingly solipsistic society.

    February 19, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Spock

    Who is going to keep track of how many times Kid got Spanked?

    February 19, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama"

    "Parents today need to stop trying to be their kids BFF's and teach them to respect them, themselves, and others.
    Period."

    I agree. I recently had a conversation with my eldest daughter (age 40+) in which I explained to her that now that we've gotten past the "mom" and "daughter" relationship, we should start working on the "BFF" part we missed in her teenage years. My goodness: the things my three girls thought of me back when are too precious for words.

    February 19, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Ummm_whatshesaid

    @scmtns, great comment! I have no issues with this. My generation was one of the last to get paddled in school, trust me I was on the receiving end several times in elementary school. Hey guess what, I turned out okay. Kids are not disciplined enough anymore, time outs are a load of crap. Yes they do work on some kids, but those kids are the ones that will cry if you look at the sideways. I have 2 kids and have been married over 10yrs, one kid does just fine with normal punishments, the other only responds when being spanked. Spanking/paddling is not "beating"!!!

    February 19, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Name Hector Daza

    Sure spank kids at school leave them red marks on their body's. Its your funeral. In these modern days when we have school shootings almost every other month. Do we really want to give kids a reason why to hate their teachers? Now a days kids are exposed to violence on a daily basics. From video games to Tv that portray violent act's against people who have hurt you in the past. I honestly think teachers should focus on teaching and not punishing kid's in the class room. If they get out of control kick them out or sent them to detention.

    February 19, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Central Kansan

    adamdocherty
    If you need to spank your child or "a child" you failed miserably in your effort to educate them.
    ===========================================

    You obviously know nothing about toddlers then. Every child is different, some need that smack on the behind to deter them from unwanted behavior.

    February 19, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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