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. Daremonai


    Pity in the real world it just makes people behave worse. It is nothing but adults getting to take out frustration and believe they are doing something helpful.

    February 19, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. rl

    Kansas also has "stand your ground" law. I presume that this does not just apply to a firearm. A pencil or pen works pretty well too.

    February 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Anna

    What the hell is wrong with Kansas! First, they allow business not to serve gays, now they are letting other people discipline OUR kids??!

    February 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. MIchelle

    This is SICK. Never, ever hit a child!!

    February 19, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. emskadittle

    so they have a stand your ground law and now they want school officials beating them? can't anyone see a problem when these two laws meet

    February 19, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Jack

    The Expert made a point to say that we didnt use child seats then and we do now! well we also didnt have a high suicide rate and Mass school murders either Why cause children were disipline and they understood bounderies

    February 19, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. peterz

    The bill could draw kansas politicians a bunch of kids to the nation?

    February 19, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Matt

    Physically punishing a child never made much sense to me. In most cases it is the adult getting overwhelmed and aggravated and taking unhealthy aggression out on the child. This is 2014, I would hope the "go pick your switch" mentality has dissolved a little.

    February 19, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Randy

    What is wrong with the judgement of people these says? Three wacks was the limit in my days of school, less of lesser offences. Then you had to repeatedly break a rule to get that far.Do kids need to know that there are prices to pay for bad action? Yes. 10 wacks? A little too far. Bare handed? NO, I would rather see a proper paddle than someone elses hand on my childs rear end. What is out of place these days is that traditional ways worked if applied properly. You guys in Kansas are getting off track with this one. Randy in Ohio

    February 19, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Sam

    There you go again. She is a left-win-nut democrat, what do you expect.

    February 19, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Perry Hockless

    If we as parents did our part and involve ourselves in kids daily activities we wouldn't have so many school shootings,gang banging or disrespectful kids today. We have spoiled the to the core and it shows in the daily news around the country of the crimes they are committing. If you wont do your part the government will, there wasn't anything wrong with it back in the day in which kids grow up to respect their elders and dare do they things todays kids are doing.

    February 19, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Lee

    No, please just let our children continue to mis-behave. Letting them off with a good scolding is working out so well.

    February 19, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. JFCanton

    This is a strange thing to think about putting in law. What good does it do to whack a child on the bottom, anyway? Smack the offending child on the face or on the knuckles once. If that doesn't correct the problem, further beating isn't going to produce better results.

    February 19, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    This is just wrong! "some redness and bruising???" give me a break! This just opens the door to child abuse instead of controlling, containing or abolishing it...good job Finney

    February 19, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. brian

    Kansas is the Dog Patch of America.

    February 19, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Jack Peters

    I wonder where all the child abusers are going to move to. Another version of stand your ground only this time you get to hit someone else's kid when you feel disrespected. Sure some kids will be abused and traumatized but you will not have to use your mind to figure out the issue. Just use violence instead.

    February 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Mammy Black

    Black people love abusing children. This bill doesn't surprise me.

    February 19, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. survivedpaddling

    I remember being paddled in a PA school when I was 12 and had just moved from CA and it was my 3rd day. Apparently i had homework that i was not aware of, honestly i never was told about it, and the teacher grabbed me by the wrist , hard [left a bruise] and dragged me into the hall and paddle me. I came from a state that did not allow teacher to touch students and I had never been treated this way at school [this was in 1976] and I was a really good kid and a good student and never got in any trouble at school until that day. It was that day that I began to HATE school. I hated that teacher and from that day on hated that school. I ended up dropping out of HS a few years later and for most kids that would have defined thier life but not me. I got my GED, enrolled in college and graduated with a 3.75 GPA with 146 credits from a major university. I rekindled my love of learning in college and I still to this day hate that woman for stealing from me my joy in school and learning. If anyone ever lays a finger on my son I will go to the school and offer them a choice– I hit them back with equal force and number of times in front of the entire school or I will sue them in civil court for child abuse. My son is not an angel but he is a good kid with a good heart and if he does something at school that is so bad they want to hit him, they need to call us and let us take care of the punishment, AT HOME!

    February 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. survivedpaddling

    ok I know there are a few typos– i cant edit it now.

    February 19, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. kenmeltzer

    "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."

    Who's acknowledging the redness or bruising? The caregiver? The child? The hand? The buttocks?

    February 19, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Josh

    If I express my displeasure or settle a disagreement with an adult by restraining him/her and hitting him/her repeatedly and hard enough to cause bruising, I will likely be successfully prosecuted for assault and battery. Why is it different when I do the same to a defenseless child? And do we really want to teach children that hitting someone is an acceptable way to express anger, to make a point, or really as any other mode of communication?

    February 19, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Mom

    What a bunch of ignorant, abusive, pathetic losers! You can raise respectful, well-disciplined, hard-working kids without laying a finger on them. If you think you can't, then obviously you're doing something wrong.

    February 19, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. liberal

    Hitting a child is abusive.

    February 19, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. David

    Today kids get away with a ton of things because they know nothing will happen to them. I know I have been their I tried to take my daughters cell phone away she got mad and told a police i hit her when i didn't and now a 2nd degree charge kids know that nothing can happen to them. When i was growing I was hit maybe it wasn't right but it did teach me a lesson when i was wrong. Today kids really get away with mouthing off at teachers and other adults and nothing can be done nothing they get away with it. where are the parent abuse laws none.

    February 19, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. scanboy

    Better yet - wire a video game controller to a marine battery. Crank it to 11. Shock them until their hair stands on end. Might fix two problems, maybe more.

    February 19, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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