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. Tracy

    We need this Bill in all states. If your children are well-behaved then they wouldn't have a thing to worry about.

    February 19, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine


    @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.
    Its really a core workout as much as its a shoulder workout. that's where the power is. Just practice the rotation, and you'll see what I mean.

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

    There's Nothing wrong with a good slap on the behind!

    February 19, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. ritmocojo

    There are a lot of teachers that can't be trusted with a paddle.

    February 19, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. De Odorizer

    If my 9th grade daughter should misbehave in school I would back teacher and principal in every reasonable attempt to discipline her.
    Paddling is NOT reasonable, not in this day and age.
    If a teacher paddles my daughter, I will meet with that teacher and do likewise. Let's see if he would like that kind of demeaning treatment...
    (sadly, here in Oklahoma there are still too many people stuck in this medieval thinking)

    February 19, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Paul

    Although it might seem nice for some people to have a classroom full of well-mannered kids superficially acting out of fear of what pain might follow, the net effect of this will just make more people want to homeschool their kids and reduce support for public education there. Also, creative thinking among the students would probably be reduced as well as everyone tries to follow the path of least resistance thus further eroding our distinctiveness at successfully providing non-rote learning environments as a nation as a way to compete against East Asian countries. The better way is to properly fund education and have a rewards system set up for good behavior and have the ability to place problem students in alternative schools where remedial learning and therapy can take place.

    February 19, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. ED

    I don't know about this at all

    February 19, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. doris

    The way people think these days. It is not safe for anyone to touch someone elses child. People are crazy and that includes teachers. If a child is acting up in school, send him home and let the parents handle it. If the child cannot be controlled kick them out of public school. They have other ways to educate. Let the parent home school the little trouble makers.

    February 19, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Andrew

    This bill needs to be passed in all states!

    February 19, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Mr T

    I pity the fool that lays a hand on my kids.

    February 19, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Jimmy Zee

    What is she nuts ?

    February 19, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. robert earnest

    Spare the rod and spoil the child. Sound public policy to bring the board of education back into the schools.

    February 19, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Andrew Willis

    Read the Stop Abuse Campaign's position on this: Shall We End Child Abuse OR Just Change The Definition. http://stopabusecampaign.com/feature/lower-the-bar

    February 19, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. davey

    Go ahead and guarantee your child will be well behaved, what ever that means. If not tough luck.

    February 19, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Shun the Nonbeliever, SHUNNNNN

    Kansas is trying to outdo everyone when it comes to unnecessary and dubiously useful laws.

    February 19, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Lu

    Way to go. If more states took this approach maybe some of these unruly kids would be better. Too much touchy feely stuff going on today. My hat is off to the congress woman who recommended this. I hope they pass the bill and the rest of the country get on board.

    February 19, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. John Rice

    If your children are well behaved then all they would have to worry about is a perverse or sadistic teacher. But they would learn the lesson that a little bit of violence can solve problems.

    February 19, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. LFP2012

    If people are disciplining their children by hitting them, they need to seek therapy immediately. What is this, the 18th century? Oh, wait, this is happening in Kansas - it makes sense now...

    February 19, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Sonny

    To Eric. Whether the parents are there are not has nothing to do with this. Your thinking of holding my neighbor responsible for me is wrong. I am not nor is my neighbor my responsibility. My kids are. Here in Kansas City as in other towns if your kids don't go to school the parents are given a citation to appear before a judge to explain why and you can be fined. In Kansas City of Feb. 15,2014 150 unruly kids decended on the country club plaza. They had aleady been thrown out of the theatre. They went on the block traffic, push people into fountains, take their food off the table and throw it in their lap, numerous fist fights and fighting the police who tried to control the situation. One kid got his teeth knocked in fighting with police. So to the man who said if anybody touches his kid he'll knock there teeth out your now in the cell next to your kid. Who pays for the damage in the plaza. The parents do. Who pays for the damage to the theatre. The Parents. Who gets sued. The parents. So before you say this is not going to happen. Have kids and think about it.

    February 19, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Cathy

    So children would not have the right to be assaulted! The next step would be to allow police to assault citizens without any trial. This is barbaric.

    February 19, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. De Odorizer

    I think the point that many are making is this: corporal punishment, if necessary at all, is for parents to decide on.
    Nobody in a large public school system is going to paddle my 9th grade daughter, or they will have to deal with my equally physical response. I will support any reasonable / pedagogically sound disciplinary measure if my kid screws up, but not demeaning physical punishments.
    (oh, she did get her wrist slapped more than once when younger. That solved the issues nicely. And she's in the 98th percentile of her class, a good student obviously)

    February 19, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. De Odorizer

    @ "Mark_in_FL This is in Kansas. Anyone shocked in the least?"....

    Lol, easy there, Mark, many of us would say the same about Florida... You know, "stand your ground and kill" as much as you can get away with... haha

    February 19, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    @Tracy: "We need this Bill in all states. If your children are well-behaved then they wouldn't have a thing to worry about."

    Not unless, of course, they have a psycho for a teacher or someone who for whatever reason doesn't like your kid.

    This bill is WRONG!

    February 19, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Michael

    Another idiot gonna lose her job next election.

    February 19, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. J Perez

    Only in Kansas could a stupid bill like this be proposed by some stupid creationist, conservative politician. Kansas must be one bizarre place to live.

    February 19, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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