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. joe

    Wow! I like her a lot! Good Call!

    February 19, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Pedsdoc

    Child abuse expert? That means a nurse who works in an ER. There is a difference between child abuse and spanking. They spanked us when I was in school and all of us turned out to be college educated, served in the military, and haven't been to jail, don't consider ourselves to be victims, and contribute to society. We also didn't worry about someone coming into our school and shooting people.

    February 19, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. FIsh192

    I believe in spanking, but not by the hands of others that are not the guardian of the parents. As a parent, I don't believe in spanking other people's children either. Finney is asking for trouble and I would gladly give her 10 spanks myself!

    February 19, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. kate gallagher

    Complete and total insanity. Anyone that wants to discipline with physical punishment is mentally unstable and should not ever be near a child, or anyone smaller than they are. There is no justification for hitting other people. Only morons do this.

    February 19, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. anonymous

    I, for one, would be ok with a teacher or caregiver giving out the occasional whoopin'. Some kids deserve it, and in my experience usually just the threat of it coming from someone who can enforce it is enough to stop behavior. I am a parent, I am a democrat, I have worked with schools and young children since I had my first job at 12. Sure, there are some children who this would not work on, but they are the exception.

    February 19, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Ashley

    I agree with this; teachers and caregivers need to have some leeway to discipline children in their care without fear of consequences. Today’s kids are brats and the parents are to blame; but one smack, the child yells abuse, the police get called, and the parents/teacher/caregiver are off to jail. That is what is wrong with today compared to fifty years ago. When my mom was in school they smacked you on the hand with a ruler. Children want and need boundaries that is why they test adults to see how much they can get away with and that is why teachers and caregiver should have to right to show authority-it leads to respect. Kids would be very embarrassed at the possibility of getting a spanking in front of classmates; that alone will deter them.

    February 19, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. cicisbo

    I would like to see a teacher put his/her hand on my child just once... Just try it, and then see how you like it when I use "reasonable physical force on you as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control you in the course of maintaining authority over you."

    February 19, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Felipe

    Oh please, I would fully give professors authorization to spank them if they truly deserve it. Kids nowadays are so disrespectful, parents are not parents any more. My professors used to hit me with a ruler and I had a lot of respect for them, I never dare to do anything bad since them. You people do not know teach your kids how to behave and teachers are not there to babysit anyone.

    February 19, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Namejoe

    Spare the rod spoil the child

    February 19, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. joe

    This is just dumb and stupid . At a time when you hear story after story of how children , especially foster children are being abused and in some instances killed,why would anyone want to make it easier for the grown ups to get away with abuse.
    Just dont make sense. Politicians may be educated but they lack common sense.

    February 19, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  11. dah00

    If teachers are allowed to spank kids, then parents should be allowed to spank teachers. It's only fair.

    February 19, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    Spank a kid today and tomorrow he brings a gun to school.

    February 19, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. sameeker

    To all of you complaining about spanking – Maybe we should just pass a law that if your kid acts up, they are permanently expelled from school. You would then be required to send them to private school at your expense.

    February 19, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. Spike238

    Typical 1950’s mentality,
    Spanking, is about as outdated as a 58 Edsel,
    Backwards, and archaic,
    Can the good folks in Kansas not think for themselves, and leave the scriptures in the Stone Age where they belong?

    February 19, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. Dorothy

    We need to get rid of all our legislature here in Kansas. There are important issues going on here, and they keep bringing up really stupid, nasty stuff. None of them represent the people of Kansas, and a lot of us are getting sick and tired of it.

    February 19, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Hawkins

    Yeah... how about no? I'm all for parents doing it, but allowing "teachers and caregivers" opens the door for too many problems.

    February 19, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. Cathy Swenson

    I can't imagine anyone thinking this would be ok in our society. We need to support children and protect them. This proposed bill is horrendous. I would like someone to hit this woman 10 times so it shows a mark and then maybe she can understand how idiotic this truly is for one human being to suggest this as being ok to hurt children.

    February 19, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Peter

    Is it more effective that a Ritalin pill, cause that's seems to be what every child that never gets a spanking ever eventually has to go on.

    February 19, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Gary

    It is never OK to hit a child. All it does is teach a child to hit. It's just not right or needed.

    February 19, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Jet

    Some of that Democrat anger and frustration is now being taken out on the kids....Shame!

    February 19, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  21. Mike

    With the attitudes and discipline some of these kids are showing today, a good spanking would do them good. I'm not saying its alright to beat the child, but in my time, spare the rod spoil the child.

    February 19, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. realoldguy

    Here's a couple of things that really say "Christian values"!
    (1) spanking children
    (2) killing birds

    February 19, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. Fiz Banic

    Violence only begets violence. I have seen it many times when a mother says no to a child or something to try to stop that child only to have the child strike out at the parent. That is because in their eyes the parent did something wrong and they are being punished. This is what spanking a child teaches, it does not teach a person not to do something as that person is now focused on the fact that you hurt them and not what they did wrong.

    February 19, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Diamond John

    My parents were both school teachers and strong believers in corporal punishment, to excess, like almost daily paddling. I can truly say it has a very negative effect on a child. I agree that it makes a fearful and angry adult that can himself easily resort to violence to solve his or her problems in life. It can make one distrustful of authority and administration. And it is very demeaning to a child, a lost and lonely feeling. What's even worse, if we got into a fight with other kids we were whipped for that. We were dead meat for bullies, and had to be very creative, thus I hated my childhood, one of pain not much room for " LOVE".

    February 19, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Lee Che

    No no no and NO!!!! Not letting another human being spank my child!!!!! This is a country where adults have lost touch with reality (i.e., molest and kill their and other peoples' children at an alarmingly high rate). 'Not showing up to pick up my child's corpse. No parent should give permission either... Nor should a bill be passed for such. Think about it... Crazy parents who want the abuse to extend from home to school will have a field day with the child getting beaten (yes, BEATEN) in school.

    February 19, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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