February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET
6 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.

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. Treppie

    I was spanked a couple times as a child, (never with a belt) but my good friend never believed in it, and never spanked her kids. They turned out to be really wonderful adults. If a teacher can handle kids without spanking them, so should parents. Spanking is a lazy way to take out your anger on a child without finding a more creative way to deal with discipline, and all it does is teach the child that the big can control the small. Nice lesson.

    February 19, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Mark

    "child experts" Please. I really wish someone would actually go through these studies rather then just quoting from them. They are completely biased loads of garbage. For instance the last one I heard about and was quoted nationally as evidence that spanking is harmful secretly included slapping and hair pulling and pushing in with spanking. They are intentionally trying to mistake what the proponents of spanking argue just so they can include controls in their studies that give them the results they want.
    It's no different then doing a study on whether drinking alcohol is healthy or unhealthy. Then look at 1000 people who drink and 1000 people who don't drink at all. Obviously the non-drinkers are people who have made a conscious effort to not drink and it's probably because they're health nuts. The drinkers include people who overdrink, people who drink and smoke, people who drink and do drugs. This says NOTHING about whether drinking is bad. Actually studies show that people who go out and have a couple drinks a couple times a week are healthier and happier then people who don't.

    You can not trust these people!

    February 19, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. empathy4us

    One should never, ever spank children. It simply teaches them that its ok not to be able to control your temper and that hitting another human is ok. Yeah, its time adults actually acted like adults....

    February 19, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "When parents were allowed to spank children they were far less disrespectful"

    Parents are still allowed to spank their children.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled alternate reality.

    February 19, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Concerned Educator, Mississippi

    Kudos to this legislator! I was spanked as a child and I'm appreciative to my parents for doing it. I was not abused, but I was spanked. There is a difference. This is exactly the problem now. I see it on a daily basis where children are more disrespectful, children are telling the parents what to do, children are doing things my generation would have never thought about at such an age and I'm just 29. I'm so sick of this oprah mumbo jumbo about studies saying it is ineffective. Show me where saying little Johnnie, you are in time-out has proven to be effective. I would hope that people understand that every study is not practical. It sounds great in theory, but not practical at all. Furthermore, we all know we can make studies say what we want. Thank you!

    February 19, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. tom edwards

    if a school official spanks my child, I show up at school and spank the official.

    February 19, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Wake up People!

    Hi Rudy, so you're a classic movie buff too? I watched Picnic also. Along with two of my all time favorites. Cat on a hot tin roof and A Place in the Sun. Elizabeth Taylor is my all time favorite actress!!
    Yeah, busted. I skipped the Taylor movies and watched Olympic Curling. I think "Picnic" is probably what many conservatives mean when they talk about "taking our country back." That was one god fearing town, I tell you.

    February 19, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Interested Observer

    They should also allow children to carry weapons. This way, if the child feels threatened, he/she can stand their ground and defend themselves.

    February 19, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. william fitzwater

    Good ! there are some kids out there who deserve a paddling.
    After spare the rod spoil the child.

    February 19, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Lori

    Spanking should only be done by a parent.....period

    February 19, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. W.G.

    I don´t hit my kid , hitting a child means you´re to stupid to deal with them . Oh , oh God forbid taking time
    for your child takes you away from YOU ! Why did you you have a kid then ? When you come home
    don´t turn on the tv , talk to your kid about their day about their hopes and dreams . Hitting a kid says
    "Don´t come to me with your problem or I´ll hit you " ! I love my kid she´s my dream come true . I want
    her to know that I´m HER Papa and that i´m always there for her . Not hitting her gives her confidence
    and courage and she acts better because I treat her as a person not a whipping post .

    February 19, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. kim

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Do we not read everyday of how children are dying by being beaten to death by parent, caregivers, ect? NO ONE SHOULD STRIKE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING! Who draws the line on how much is too much? Please don't let this happen. Right now in NC a 15 month old baby was beaten to death, and sexually abused, but they can't seem to make an arrest. Read that again, 15 months old beaten to death and sexually abused. We have got to demand more care for our children, not laws that allow beating them. Look at the pic on this article, terrified little children

    February 19, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Dan Howard

    If you spank my child then you have to deal with me. I'm the only person allowed to spank my children!

    February 19, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Ohurley

    The bill does bring up a question of disciplines by parents and places restrictions which are reasonable except for possibly the ten count. A couple of swats seems to work for some children, while it doesn"t work well with others. Proverbs 13:24 says you do not love your child if you don't discipline them. Allowing time out, swats, or other forms for parents seems reasonable. Schools and caregivers under the bill would only be allowed with parental permission. Good thought for discussion.

    February 19, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC


    Wake up People!

    Where is your proof that spanking is less effective? Nothing but lies. When parents were allowed to spank children they were far less disrespectful, they understood there were boundaries and consequences to their actions.
    The bill isn't about parents. It's about teachers and caregivers. Get it right. Don't try me. I'll make you go get a switch.

    February 19, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC

    The most effective spanking that you can give kid begins with five words, "Go get me a switch."
    Ooo! I'm reminiscing......!
    ...And don't you dare walk back into the house with a little, tiny, leaf- filled twig either!!!!
    Oh nooooo!! That was not going to cut it! She'd be likely to go out and come back with a tree trunk darn near!!!
    Aah I miss my mother. She was the best. My alpha and my omega. The best....

    February 19, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Doug

    This is a sad bill and should not get passed by the Legislature. If a student gets out of line in class, send him/her to the Principal's office for further action (contact the parent/guardian). When I attended High School 40 years ago, we had a teacher who swatted us in the behind for not turning in our homework! He used a large oak paddle with holes drilled into it for maximum effect. He was a tennis buff who had a very powerful swing. He took you outside the class and performed the punishment in the hallway. I will never forget the "crack' sound when he administered the punishment. He swatted both boys and girls. We should not be encouraging this type of corrective action on our children by other adults.

    February 19, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Reggie

    OK...so it says "Some in Kansas are voicing opposition to the bill." which as I understand most then support? Idiotic article or should I believe this

    February 19, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Gurgyl

    You kiss? When child misbehaves? Nonsense. No wonder no respect in USA for parents, teachers, nor substitute teachers.

    February 19, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Kansas Problems

    Kansas was just in the news a couple days ago for a proposed bill that made it legal to turn away gay couples. Kansas is the state of dark ages.

    February 19, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Back to Thoreau

    Ten shall be the number of spanks. No more, no less. 9 is not enough. 10, being the proper amount, must be the number of spanks. 11 is too much and 12 is right out.

    Silly, if you're going to reintroduce corporal punishment why not just let it be the teachers discretion. Or skip having to beat bad kids and just throw them out entirely.

    February 19, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    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.

    stone age democrat party and their war on kids continues... if they can't kill them in the womb, they want to beat them and then if they survive all of that, they want to steal their future and cripple them by piling trillions in debt on their backs.

    February 19, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Jeff6187

    Spanking by itself is not abuse. Abuse by itself is abuse. That's the term we should be defining. Unfortunately it's hard to define the term globally without causing a huge upheaval. So we define terms for things that might, in the wrong hands, be abusive. Spanking has such a wide range of severity. We all know kids who laugh about the last time Mom thought she was punishing her child via spanking .... and we all know parents who could cause great and permanent damage with one or two swings, let alone 10. Like the supreme court said in the 70's about pornography – it's hard to define but we know it when we see it.

    As for the difference between spanking and 'time out", ... that's somewhat like apples vs. oranges. Each is appropriate to certain situations, but again in a NON-abusive way.

    February 19, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. mel vee

    This is how the all powerful state ensues that at the youngest ages, children are bullied into submission to it. No encouragement of free thought or questioning of the material presented, for fear of the infliction of physical harm. Nszi Germany

    February 19, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. TONE

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I remembered the hygeine sessions every morning, they get up close to make sure you showered, teeth brushed, and nails cut and cleaned, do you remember they use to have you put your fingers out for inspections, with the ruler in their hands i can never forget those days, and i will cherish it for the rest of my life. I was not only educated in math, and english i also learned how to wash my you know what.

    February 19, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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