February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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. BD70

    When I was in school the fear of going to the principal who had a paddle in his office was enough to make us behave.

    February 19, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Eric

    I read a post above of holding the parent responsible for what their kids do.... even when not in front of the parent. What a nut job. How about we hold those idiots responsible for what their neighbor does? That's the same insane thinking. This world is falling apart.

    February 19, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Kate

    If ANYONE lays a hand on my child I will see to it that they are charged with battery. My children are well-behaved and mannerly at school and in public, although they give us some guff at home. If there needs to be discipline, surely someone with an education can come up with something better than becoming a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing barbarian and physically attack a young person. If you can't, get out of education. If they don't respond, call the parents. If they are breaking the law, call the cops. Violence is not discipline – it's violence.

    February 19, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Elizabeth

    Is this the biggest issue facing Kansas? I admit I don't follow their state's economy or politics, but is this really the best use of their legislators' time?

    February 19, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. GOD of all GODS (yes even that one)

    Send them all to catholic school...the nuns will wack the rears and the priest will rub it to get better

    February 19, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. kurtinct

    What in the heck is going on in Kansas? It's practically one panhandle away from becoming Texas for crying out loud.

    February 19, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. tom l

    DMFO and Real TP

    @ tom l
    Something I wholly agree with you on ...Depressing. And here I thought we had a moment.
    You misunderstood my last post tom l. And I apologize for not being clear in what I was trying to communicate.
    We were in complete agreement you, Tom Paine, and I.
    I was just clarifying that my post was in response to a comment made by Tom Paine and NOT that I was quoting Tom Paine as he stated in his subsequent post.
    That was all babe!
    We DID have a moment tom l....and it actually felt pretty good.

    That's the problem with these darn boards! It's tough to understand the person's intentions because it's just writing with tone or inflection. I misunderstood you and have always, unfortunately, felt that you're a bit hostile towards me and it's an odd feeling for me. Shockingly, and I know you might fall off of your chair, people tend to find me to be quite amenable and easy to get along with so our little relationship puts me in an odd position and out of my normal ways.

    I was so happy to see your first message that when I saw the next one it bummed me out and frustrated me. So, to be perfectly clear, I think there are actually some issues that we do agree upon and perhaps February 19th was a momentous day in CNN Tickerland as we actually had a nice, civil conversation and agreed on something. 🙂 Also, and this is very important for me to say and for you to hear (read), I harbor zero hatred towards you. None. I have tremendous respect for you knowing that you raised 2 fine young men. I actually like you but I just disagree with much of your political positions; that's all. That's the wonderful thing about this country. We can have totally different viewpoints but still have the ability to state them without reservation and also respect each other. The same goes for you, Real TP. 🙂

    February 19, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    People need to stop saying my kids are well behaved. If you knew what some kids do behind their parents backs it would curl your hair. So many clueless parents in the world today.

    As for violence begetting violence, what's the excuse for the upper middle class teen girls whose parents never lay a hand on them becoming mean girls and bullies? You know those girls who pick on others so bad they become suicidal??

    The bottom line is parents need to be parents not friends.

    February 19, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Mike

    How primitive.

    February 19, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. liberal

    It is never OK to hit a child.

    February 19, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Dawn Kieballs

    One can only hope that someone will put a bruisin' on her for good measure. What is wrong with people?

    February 19, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |

    Schools couldn't kids the very moment they stopped paddling them.

    February 19, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Shut up Kate

    I bet your kids are little punks and you are so stuck up you cant even see it. People like you are horrible parents. Damn this country is in the toilet. Thanks Kate!

    February 19, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Fed up with it all

    Was all downhill when parents decided they wanted to be friends with their kids instead of parents. Poor parents send there poorly behaved kids to school. When there is discipline problems with the child many parents challenge the authority of the school, rather than calling out their children's bad behavior.

    Its just more of no one wanting to take responsibility for their children's actions.

    When I was out of line as a child, my parents did not look for excuse for my behavior. There was not the well "Johnny did it too" that is not fair crap. It was a swift paddling followed by a lecture and topped off with an old fashioned "grounding". My mom and dad used to call it the trifecta of discipline.

    February 19, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Fernando

    A can of whoop ass never hurt anyone...I know there were many a time I deserved it when I was a ball buster back in the day. These kids today don't respect any authority today and if these kids need a little tough love then it wont hurt to put the fear of God in them. Hell to this day I appreciate those who cared when they did it and I understand. Teaching is a tough job as it is they need some control just as long as they dont abuse the authority they are given.

    February 19, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Frank Rexach

    I would point out if you hit an adult and left bruising ,red spots, you would be charged with assault but in Kansas it is ok to hit kids. Guess what Kansas is also one of the most supposed Christian states.

    February 19, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Amy

    Proven fact that corporal punished DOES NOT WORK. Hitting a child when you are angry only teaches them to hit when they are mad. I ache for children who are abused by parents/teachers/caregivers and can't believe the state would make it legal for them to hit them harder. Disgusting excuses of humanity.

    February 19, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Tom Bukowski

    Just what is wrong with the lawmakers in Kansas? So much for smaller, less intrusive government.

    February 19, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Mi2scent

    If you went to School With paddling, you know who was always going to get the paddle. You saw with your own eyes how it changed their behavior. Most of us that did not get paddled all the time was not because of fear. We are just good people. Those who did get paddled never acted better, they always seemed to get into trouble. we all know this is not effective so what is the point?

    February 19, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Tom J

    It's funny that all the people posting that hitting your kid is wrong have kids that everybody else wants to slap silly.

    February 19, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Paul

    I figured the "but my children are perfect little angels!" crowd would be out in full force.

    I've got news for them, the rest of the world sees them as little devils escaping the tyranny of their home life.

    February 19, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. TONE

    @The Real Tom Paine


    Jim in PA

    I propose a bill that allows us to slap politicians. Doesn't even have to be 10 times. Just one good one to rattle the teeth.

    Jim I could not agree with you more I will go to the gym in training for that, i would need more power than i have now to effectively carry out that duty Gop politicians, and some Dems here I come.
    Just bring a bat. It sounds better when it makes contact.

    Then it means i have to work on my shoulders for the swing.

    February 19, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Steve

    @ Kate: RE: "If ANYONE lays a hand on my child I will see to it that they are charged with battery" LOL!!! I admit that some children behave better than others, but it is usually in the eyes of the parent, as in your case. You see angels, and others see devils. Battery, indeed. Sad thing is, you probably would win in court, seeing how this liberal bleeding heart society is.

    February 19, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Vince

    Wow. Talk about BIG government butting in.

    February 19, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. American6string

    All the problems in this country, and Kansas wants to pray the gay away, and let teachers hit their kids. Buffoons.

    February 19, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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