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. Jack 2

    Whoop their but! It's been used since the begining of the human race

    February 19, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -Enough is Enough

    @ emarrassed – more progressive drivel......you are worried about obesity ahead of behavior – your priorities are backwards
    I see your parents never taught you about respect , either. Pity. Where did you think that bad parenting could be identified by party affiliation, or is thinking past political labels something that takes too much of your time?

    February 19, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. patrick

    Where did she get the idea that spanking children produces good results – her pastor?

    February 19, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Amy

    If a teacher hits my kid for ANY reason, we will have a serious private conversation.

    February 19, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Aryeh

    Anyone who advocates spanking as a disciplinary tool whether in school or out is completely out of their minds! It has been proven countless times by countless studies that spanking is not an affective way to deal with kids. Only the simple or primitive minded, or people too stupid to manipulate kids using their brains would ever resort to spanking. I know because I was abused as a child. My stepfather used to beat my ass all the time. The only affect it had was to make me want to rebel more and to lash out with violence against others in order to displace my own frustrations and anger. After reading that 19 States allow spanking in school, I know where I don't wish to raise my family and I feel sorry for those dumb, moranic bastards who administer violence towards children in the hope of gaining their respect and obedience. It doesn't work that way! You earn respect by showing the student that you are smarter than them and by loving them. If you're not smarter or can't love them you shouldn't be teaching or administering to students.

    February 19, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. crawlsonrocks

    The only thing we teach when we hit and humiliate is to hit and humiliate. Violence against children is simply an exhibit of the ignorance of the parent. And, just as I'd come to the rescue of an adult being attacked, I'd come to the rescue of a child being attacked, so be warned. Hit a child at your own risk.

    This is coming from someone who was severely abused as a child.

    February 19, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Jerry

    It is about time we returned to tried and true biblical principles! The next law should be to set up guidelines for stoning disobedient children. It will be difficult but we will want to do it right to protect the "stoners" from being charged with murder. Also the law should specify the size and number of stones and who will be qualified to cast the first stone etc... Last but not least, we should study the history of the fall of the Roman Empire so we will get ready for our future... Is there any intelligence or common sense left within politics today?

    February 19, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. MarkinFL

    This is in Kansas. Anyone shocked in the least?

    February 19, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "Lolololololololololol. This is a bill from DEMOCRAT state representative Gail Finney."

    What comment have I made so far about this issue has been at all partisan? Both Dems and GOPers were all about the "war on drugs" and both of their "tough on crime" pandering led to the inequitable enforcement paradigm of our criminal justice system. Makin a tongue-in-cheek reference to it in this context really wasn't partisan.

    February 19, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Mark_in_FL

    This is in Kansas. Anyone shocked in the least?

    February 19, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    Just realize that the rest of the population WILL hit your kid if YOU are remiss in your parental duties.
    And they will hit them harder than 10 good whacks, make no mistake.

    February 19, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Eric

    And when the kids punchs the teacher in the face i hope that no one complains, can tell you this if i had a child i would certainly tell them if the teacher tried to spank them to fight back. I fthe only way you can get your kids to listen is to hit them then you arent are very good parent

    February 19, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. scarf

    Don't everybody get bent out of shape that this has been proposed by a Democrat. As a former Kansan, I can tell you that a Kansas Democrat is what used to be known in the rest of the country as a moderate Republican. Also, I knew the current Kansas Democratic Senate majority leader in high school, and he isn't exactly liberal.

    However, the big problem with this bill is that it doesn't change the current situation at all, it just defines it for the benefit of the courts et al. If parents are bad at disciplining their kids, this bill won't make them good at it. It is typical of what I came to expect from the Kansas Legislature; a lot of feel good activity with absolutely no substance associated with it.

    February 19, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Jerry Okamura

    Who is going to be the one who does the counting?

    February 19, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Mark1

    Someone else touches my child, I'll beat them to within an inch of them seeing the light.

    February 19, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Anonymous

    I bet everybody who posted here that grew up in the 70's (me included) went to a school where the principle had the blank of wood with holes in it for spanking those who needed. I am all for this being reinstated back in schools, but I do think 10 swots is to many I would go for 3 swots

    February 19, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. jalearner

    Corporal punishment was used on both Hitler and Stalin; look at the results. As a father of 4 and a grandfather of many, I can say, without a doubt, that love and timeouts are the way. If this is not sufficient, there is something deeper wrong with the parent(s) or caregiver. Violence definitely begets violence and nothing can replace love.

    February 19, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Silence DoGood

    This is about school. If you want to hit your kids in private, that is a different discussion. My private beliefs and opinion is I do not want my kids hit. It is a moot point if You think it is a good thing. A school teacher, given legislated morality from some religious fervor, does not have the right to hit my kid. These are the stepping stones in the Theocracy Movement.

    February 19, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. American Worker

    Physical consequence is for when 'Reasoning' fails.
    Hence the need to definitively knock a bully onto his backside.

    Trouble is the physical is too easily and too often used when one is intellectually too lazy set clearly understood boundaries, incentives, consequences, ...

    February 19, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Rich

    Schools should not be doing the job of the parents and the parents should not be doing the job of the school. No spanking kids in school and no sending kids home with homework they don't understand and telling them to get their parents to help.

    February 19, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Sharla

    Spanking doesn't hurt anyone. Its far from child abuse. Discipline is even in the Bible. Wake up people!! That is what is wrong this generation. Kids are disrespectful because "parents' don't want to spank their children or tell them "no". I was spanked and my child was spanked growing up. There is no signs of so-called aggression but good signs of respect. For the parents making their comments "if a teacher touches my child, that teacher will regret it", well, here some advice. Discipline your own child and then nobody else will have too.

    February 19, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. GOP Sucks

    And you thought Kansas could get any more backwards after legalizing discrimination against gays.

    February 19, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Real Tom Paine
    and tom l.

    Just to be perfectly clear: I was RESPONDING to Tom Paine's post.

    February 19, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Jeff W.

    Spare the rod, spoil the nation.

    February 19, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Curtis

    My teachers had wood paddles and weren't afraid to use them. I earned a few encounters with the paddle, and let me tell you, it will get your attention in a way that a time out will not.
    I had a close friend who was a principal in Oklahoma where paddling was used, and he went to Atlanta, and came back shortly. His observation was that the kids in the more liberal Georgia schools were totally out of control. He decided to stay in Oklahoma, where he could do some good. I doubt he ever enjoyed giving paddlings, but I also doubt he lost sleep over it.

    February 19, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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