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. DScully

    And the stupidity in Kansas is alive and well......

    February 19, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC


    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.
    This reminds me of a movie I watched over the weekend, "Picnic", 1955. Nominated for 6 academy awards, it won two. The movie is supposed to be a depiction life in a conservative, rural Kansas town in the mid-20th century. The town is a world all of its' own, and a more liberal-oriented outsider comes to town, and just simply doesn't fit in.

    February 19, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. A Teacher

    By the way I was spanked and I believe in spanking. A parent is not a child's friend. A parent is exactly that, a parent! Set the boundaries and enforce your household laws. Be sure to prepare your child for the real world, teach them respect, and how to stand up for themselves respectfully. Teacher inside the classroom a human-being outside of the class room, I don't disrespect others and I don't take it either. Thus end the lesson for the day.

    February 19, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. RC

    Neither timeout nor spanking is that effective on its own. One teaches the child to sit quietly, the other teaches the child what physical pain feels like. To be effective, either one should always be accompanied by an explanation on why the child is being punished, followed by the punishment, followed by having the child say in his own words why he was punished and an apology, and (very important), telling the child you love him.

    February 19, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Count de Likes

    Some of the breeders need to feel the sting of a good spanking just as much as their disrespectful spawn.

    February 19, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Dustin Goldsen

    If you find yourself wearing red shoes, DO NOT click the heals together.

    February 19, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Dan

    "Time out" is the fools' method of child punishment. Most children will just laugh behind your back, or grin and learn that they won't truly be punished.

    Which is why so many punks are OK with burglarizing homes, stealing cars, and mugging old women. They know that if they are caught, all they will receive is a "time out" in jail. They learned it from their sissy parents, who coddled them as children.

    Problem is, when that burglar confronts you in your home, I guarantee you he will not tell to to go stand in the corner for a "time out" while he carries your TV to his van. He's more likely to pull a gun and blow you away.

    February 19, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. sly

    I think we also need laws allowing teachers to execute children if they get unruly.

    February 19, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Tim Gray

    I agree with it myself. A kid is with teachers/school much longer than they are with the parent. And if they get out of hand, they can't wait for the parent to act. Besides, too many of them won't act. The Vice principal had the spanking job when I went to school and kids knew better than to act up. They didn't get the luxury of staying home for three days because they would have loved that. And if they did that for silly things like fighting instead of giving a 14 year old an arrest record, kids wouldn't be so screwed up today.

    February 19, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Matt

    What is this, 1954?

    February 19, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. patb

    My God that is just wow, I realize years ago people abused their children and considered it spanking but really, have we not advanced any at all in the past few decadeds?
    The physical alone is enought but imagine the emotional abuse that this would bring on, especially for school students, etc.
    I can't believe that this is even a consideration.
    I do realize that today's youth has gone abit a stray but that had nothing to do with weither or not we spank them it has to do with the morals and honor that we teach them.

    February 19, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. VJ

    Insane law...

    February 19, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. MCarnesq

    The point of discipline is not punishment but to teach self control. Anyone who hits someone else is clearly out of control. What does that teach a child? While we have an 18 and a 10 year old that have never been spanked, time out is not always effective. That means that you must have more than spanking or time out in your parenting basket of discipline choices. I read a lot of books to be ready with appropriate choices. Kids need to know how to solve conflict with their minds and words – not their bodies. When we use our bodies to settle things, we teach our kids that settling things by force is acceptable. You don't get to do that AT ANYTIME to another adult in the real world. You hit someone at work, you get fired and arrested. Let's prepare the children to behave as they will be expected to behave when they are adults by showing them it's not okay that anyone hits a child AT ANYTIME.

    February 19, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Diogenes

    Parents have gotten jailed for spanking but judges want to hold them responsible, then turn around and say that nonfamily can assault a kid as long as it is only 10 wacks at a time? I' ll. show you how bad 10 wacks can hurt and do permanent damage. There are a lot of child molesting wackos out there under the guise of being a teacher or care giver. Some are slobbering at the thought of spanking a child right now. Hope your children see it closer that you want.

    February 19, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Project Aeos

    For those who whine about not wanting their children spanked, you failed as parents as you let your children do as they please. To the teachers that opposed to such, shame on yourselves for failing to keep your students in check. With the exception to private and religion schools, public schools are at a disgrace. I was never spanked as a child because I have no reason to get spankings. In fact, I laughed at those who got the spanking when I was in the second grade. It might be an embarrassment to be put into that position, but it's a learning tool for the rest of us in knowing what not to do to get to that position. I am support for this bill, and those who oppose this can step aside, and let the real people handle it.

    February 19, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. julnor

    No problem with this. Kids got paddled when I was in school. It gave the teachers some force behind their authority. Of course, this bill will be a huge boon to the trial lawyers.

    February 19, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. howiehowie

    The only problem with this is that the kids who get disciplined by parents stand more of a chance to be spanked than those whose parents let them get away with whatever they want or are just flat out afraid of their own kids; too little, too late. The majority of kids today are rude, crude, belligerent, and completely lacking of any respect for elders. For those in my age bracket, we were subject to getting spanked at school and at home; we were better for it; we learned early that being a part of society has responsibilities and there are limits that must be honored. Lax parents today do not seem to convey this responsibility to their little darlings.

    February 19, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. jack

    Nobody spanks my child but me, not the teacher, or anyone else. I will open a can of whoopass if they do. And if I do spank my kid, only 1 spank is sufficient, because they won't forget it........

    February 19, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. ken

    So the severity of the spank doesn't come into question. This is open to abuse type spanking.

    February 19, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Terry Denson

    We can not trust the education system to serve their primary purpose and educate our children and now they want to hit them? ridiculous. Teachers, administrators, or state workers are not qualified to hit my kid or yours for that matter.

    February 19, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Dave

    In Sweden it is against the law to spank. I can't believe in this day and age, with all the evidence we have that proves spanking is harmful, we have an elected Rep in Kansas looking to give teachers and babysitters full access and permission to touch our kids' butts! Unbelievable.

    February 19, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Lauging at you

    When did Americans become so soft? Anyone over the age of 50 grew up with a belt.

    February 19, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. RINO


    What a pathetic comment... no wonder your kids are easily "damaged"...
    This kind of parenting is exactly what is wrong with our culture. Shame on you.

    February 19, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. tom l

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Real Tom Paine
    and tom l.

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


    Something I wholly agree with you on and you have to make sure to be aggressive towards me and point out that you cannot possibly agree with me. Not surprising as both The Real TP and I both agreed on something but you better make darn well sure that you don't agree with me on anything. Once again, it's the WHO that gives the message that matters most. Depressing. And here I thought we had a moment.

    February 19, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Bert

    Isn't this the same state that tabled a law giving "Kansans" the right to discriminate against anyone that their religious beliefs disagree with? Without any legal repercussion. No, really! Just recently!
    Now it's fine to beat children in public institutions, till they are bruised! Wow!
    There's gotta be something in the water down there!

    February 19, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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