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. CherryMama

    Well it is Kansas after all....
    On another note, if crime rates drop and school grades increase over the next 10 years, then maybe they are right to swat.

    February 19, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. derekethridge

    At least four times I've seen people posting about the GOP. This is proposed by a Democrat. It's even in the article.

    February 19, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Jim

    Here's what you need to know: You lay a hand on my kid, I'm going to lay a hand on you. Period.

    February 19, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. tom l

    "Nah, stuff like this is usually meant only for the "urban" ones."

    Lolololololololololol. This is a bill from DEMOCRAT state representative Gail Finney. So now I guess you will be for this due to WHO sent the message because that obviously weighs heavier for you than the WHAT of the legislation.

    February 19, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. gailco001

    If my kid needs a swat on the behind, my husband or I are the ONLY people who had better deliver that punishment. I dare say a teacher who attempted to punish my child in this manner would learn very quickly to be sorry for doing so.

    February 19, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Tweety bird

    First Kansas wants to legalize discrimination, then they want to have TEACHERS abusing children. What's next? The restoration of slavery? Repealing women's right to vote? It the blinking 21st century not the 19th.

    February 19, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Embarrassed to be an american

    It is getting harder and harder to be proud to be an American. We don't have enough problems in this country... the only thing this woman thinks is wrong in Kansas is that children need to be hit. No education problems. No healthcare and obesity problems. No potholes in the roads. No budget issues... Everything is spectacular. Lets focus on beating kids. How about a bill to get her fired!

    February 19, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. 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.
    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.


    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.

    February 19, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I've had to give my kids a swift swat on the butt but 1-3 times
    Eevrybody seems to feel okay with the ole' "swat on the butt".
    I attended Catholic school through 4th grade.
    Never once did those d amn nuns EVER swat me on the butt, through the cushioning that my uniform provided...
    Nope. Not them. They were dedicated ruler-using knuckle-rappers.
    May they rest in pieces...the nuns and their rulers.

    February 19, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. duane - st.pete FL

    kids need to fear athority just a little.....nothing wrong with that.....

    February 19, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. 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).

    February 19, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. Bigd9749

    HaHa When i got spanked at school i would get spanked when i got home, as my father put it "that teacher did not spank you without a reason" and he was right

    February 19, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. mike electrician

    Make them stand in the corner, make them wash the black board, make them stay after school, but you lay a hand on my kid, and there will be a reckoning for sure.

    February 19, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Mark

    Pathetic people in office. What's new?

    February 19, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. SDCinNS

    Walk through any mall or supermarket or schoolyard – and you can easily see which kids are disciplined at home and which ones are not.

    February 19, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. JHC

    Just great (NOT!). Then maybe children will start standing their ground. Violence begets violence.

    February 19, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Jesse

    NO ONE has a right to use force to punish someone else's child. If another adult bruised or left marks on my child, I would be leaving bruising and red marks on an adult. People...punish your own children. If you don't they will be maniacs. It is not up to the rest of the population to HIT our children, unless you GIVE permission to do so.

    February 19, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. William Bellah

    There is this problem, the strong willed and super sensitive child, they do not surrender their will and if anger is involved, they pick up and are fueled by the very anger that is aimed at them. Sometimes love is the only way to overcome anger. We can beat a strong willed to death but far better to love that child and possibly save their life.

    February 19, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. headmouse

    " but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out."

    Um. NO, it's not. Time out gives the kids time to think about how not getting caught next time.

    I know when my kids act up all I have to do is reach for the paddle. They straighten right up. THAT'S effect.

    "Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now."

    Back them cars were built to take an impact. Today they are not. Your comparison is invalid.

    Looking at kids and teenagers today, it is obvious that not spanking them has taught them they can get away with anything.

    February 19, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Desperate in KY

    This article caught my eye. My husband and I live in South KY (Whitley co) and as punishment for our girls if other measures seemed to fail, who are 14. We would give them 2 licks on the butt with a belt. In KY it is not against the law to spank your kid. However, our kids have been removed from our home because the judge that is handling our case sees spanking a child at all is considered child abuse. We have no idea what to do. We have an attorney, but our rights as a citizen have been violated. This judge is going by her own beliefs and not the law. I wish there was someone out there that would take interest in our case and return our kids home. They where removed last August and haven't been returned yet.

    February 19, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. CTed

    I was spanked, no problems. Not hard, not abusive, and i was never ever violent as a child. I wasn't in a single fight in school (or after).

    Violence in kids comes from lots of places. Part of being a little bit afraid of my father meant I knew I what would happen if I got in a fight... so it was self correcting on the violence front.

    February 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Michael

    If you need to beat on a child to get their attention, you are a bully, as well as ignorant (not to mention a dumb-ass.) I have two kids ages 4 and 7, and they certainly have their moments. But I restrict their activities of things they enjoy doing, like watch TV, or play the X Box, and they perk right up and listen then. Any teacher spanking MY child will have to face ME, or a police report detailing the abuse of my children in court.

    February 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. Kansas

    If Kansas is "so stupid" and If the rest of America is looking so smart... Why is it that we're not reading about school shootings in Midwest farming communities?

    February 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. scmtns

    Children do not possess common sense or rationality of forethought, so operant conditioning is what works, and it is appropriate. As they grow they learn that non-compliance has consequences, and they learn forethought and rationality from that.

    The Millennial generation did not have this, and their misanthropic lack of direction is the direct result of a State-mandated lack of discipline and learning.

    February 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Enough is Enough

    @derek – do you really expect people to read the article and know what they are talking about before posting a comment here? C'mon man.....let the progressives do what they always do...and yes....parents....stop trying to be your kids friends! You are the parents – act like it! Please note that I said PARENTS – plural. Men stop acting like fools getting women pregnant and then running out on them. Grow up and be responsible!

    February 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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