Teachers could spank harder under bill pending in Kansas Legislature

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas lawmaker wants to give school teachers and caregivers more power to spank children.

Kansas House member Gail Finney, D-Wichita, said the bill is designed to restore parental rights.

It would expand the current law, which allows spanking without leaving marks. If Finney's bill passes, it would allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and smacks hard enough to leave redness and bruising.

The proposal has its detractors, who say it is antiquated.

"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," pediatrics nurse Amy Terreros said.She is a child abuse expert at Children's Mercy Hospital.

McPherson Deputy County Attorney Britt Colle introduced the idea to Finney.

The proposed bill suggests lightening the spanking laws, allowing parents or anyone given permission by a parent, to spank hard enough to leave redness or bruising.

"This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal," Colle said. "This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not."

Colle said the bill makes it clear that hitting a child with fists, hitting a child in the head or body, or hitting a child with a belt or switch is not legal discipline and may be considered battery or abuse.

Deidre Sexton said she would never spank her granddaughter. She enjoys being "Nana" with the responsibilities of a guardian by day.

But Sexton said she has limits with how she disciplines her 2-year-old granddaughter, and she draws the line at spanking.

"Even if the parent tells you. Even if my own children told me you can discipline the grandkids, I wouldn't do it. I would find other ways of doing it," Sexton said.

Kansas proponents of the bill say children are losing respect for authority and that parents need to be able to discipline without fear. But 30 other states disagree, and they've banned corporal punishment altogether.

The committee chair John Rubin said he isn't sure if he's going to even consider the bill.

Finney says if that is the case, she plans on re-introducing a similar proposal again next legislative session.

Source: KCTV/CNN


  • FaithC

    “The proposed bill suggests lightening the spanking laws, allowing parents or anyone given permission by a parent, to spank hard enough to leave redness or bruising.”

    What? They want it to be ok to hit a child so hard that you leave bruises? That is opening the door to more abuse.
    I have no problem with a tap, (and I mean TAP), on their bottom when they are little, but that is it. As they get older there should be no physical discipline. If you are raising them right and you are an involved parent, from day one, who is not trying to be a child’s friend you do not have to resort to hitting.
    Beating a child is not the answer, being a real parent is. They don’t need mom and dad to be a friend, they have friends. What they need is discipline and structure.

    • Krystal

      I do not, nor have I even been in favor for, belief that a educator, babysitter, daycare provider, etc, should ever put their hands on a child. I do believe with all of these rules and regulations of a parents ability to punish their child has lead to more and more children acting out, being disrespectful, and breaking the law. There is a difference between disciplining your child (discipline that is appropriate for the age of the child and the actions the child took to be in trouble), and abusing your child. I have heard so many parents state they want to discipline their child, but are afraid to because if they do someone will call the authorities to report abuse of the child. I myself had children services called on me once, because I yelled at my children and whooped their behinds for going into the street. I was outside with them and told them to stay away from the street because it was dangerous and they could get hit by a car. However, they (being children) decided to test me by kicking a ball (purposefully) into the street. I grabbed my child by the upper arm and lead them to the house, and in a risen tone of voice telling them that going into the street is dangerous and they could have been seriously been injured by a car or even killed by one. I whooped their behinds and had them sit for a while to let them know I was serious. I allowed the children service worker talk to my children without me being in the room, so she could see I would not influence my children into saying what I wanted them to say, but to answer her questions honestly. She asked if I whooped them or spanked them, and they told her yes. She asked when and why, and they told her when they needed to be because they did not listen or follow the rules. Now that my children are older I take privileges away from them or place them in a corner. Services of any child care should NOT be allowed to use corporal punishment on the children. There are places that offer these services that are physically punishing children now as it is, or worst abusing them, allowing other children to bully the children, or sexually groping the children. Just a few months ago, the news broadcasted about the sexual abuse of children in the center by one of the workers and her boyfriend.

  • Jasman

    Decipline is needed not in school though! Report to the parents and let them decipline their own children. ,┬Ěhonestly my sibilings and i were all disciplined no mental physical or emotional issues but all with masters an bachelors degrees. Im sorry if my child was to hit me im going to spank him. Try being a parent not their friend.

    • Krystal

      Reporting to the parents would work if the parents would not be in fear of being legally punished or threatened to have children services called on them every time they discipline their child. Additionally, as stated if the parents would stop thinking they need to be their child’s friend. I understand the need to have children services to whine out those who abuse, neglect, and harm the children. But calling them on someone who is doing their job as a parent correctly is taking away from the children who need them involved the most.

  • amanda

    I’m sorry. But, having somebody spank my child when its not their own..
    I would be so mad. I understand tap, but to smack em hard enough
    To leave bruising or redness? No!
    I carried THAT child and Its only right for me to to punish em.
    That would be like me saying, its okay to must your child’s butt when you don’t even know me. Teachers could do it for no reason, who knows.
    I strongly disagree with any of this, and to lass it as a law? Dumb.

    • Larry.

      If I am interpreting what i read correctly, the parent would have to authorize the use of corporal punishment in advance. Teachers would not have carte blanche. If the parents were anti-spanking, the teachers could not overrule their formally expressed wishes…

      As for myself, I was raised on parental corporal punishment, and I believe it has it’s place in the world. Logic and Reason do not seem to be powerful enough inducements to override wants and desires in children. We are already seeing the first crop of emerging adults under the new philosophy, and I have observed a decided lack of understanding of concepts like ‘consequences for ones actions’ or ‘personal responsibility’.

      I admit that i am far from an expert, and I have no desire to have children of my own, partially because of the constraint a modern parent must operate under… However, there is a definite and observable shift in the social mores between the generations raised with the threat of immediate (and public) consequences for their misdeeds, and those raise without said threat looming over their heads. Maybe the studies need to be longer-term before the full ramifications can be concluded?

      • chucky1992

        I absolutely agree. When I was growing up, I didn’t dare talk back to a teacher or other school administrator or any person of authority actually. If I had, my parents would have made sure I knew it was wrong and not with “time out” either. There were some kids who did those things but they were the exception and I don’t believe they were getting the punishment at home. I know of a few who had parents that would defend their behavior and blame the teachers. These days, there are a lot more students who are willing to talk back to teachers and other people of authority like police officers and judges.

    • chucky1992

      While I understand that a parent would not want a stranger punishing their child, I do believe the parents fail their children if they take that approach. I get a lot of calls from parents who cannot get their children to obey them and/or stay out of trouble. I also see a lot of parents in court who have had that same approach to raising their child. They are constantly having to take their child to court or bail them out because they don’t learn that there are consequences for their actions. Once a child is 10-12 years old, it’s too late to start too.

  • Jim Hough

    Hell yeah put some fear in these kids I know when I was in school they paddled and it hurt so you tried your best top stay out of trouble so as to not get paddled I think as long a they call the parents first to discuss it and how many swats the child gets the parents have to still have control still

    • FaithC

      Do you really think a child should be hit hard enough to leave bruising? If it leaves bruises that is abuse.
      The last thing a child needs is some frustrated teacher who knows they have the law behind them and they can beat a child when they please.
      Yes beat…because that is what you have to do to leave a bruise.

  • Kayla

    Absolutely not! If a parent feels it’s necessary to spank a child, that is their responsibility. I would be infuriated if I found out a teacher laid a hand on my child, especially to leave bruises. If a child does something bad enough to warrant a spanking then send them home and inform the parents. Teachers are not meant to act as parents.

  • nikki

    All of these folks who say, oh it hurts the kids growth, or kids today are sensitive…what in the world?? Children today are so disrespectful and mean…they need their butts tore up sometimes. There is a line between abuse and punishment, but over all I feel that a caregiver/teacher should be allowed to spank. Kids don’t care how they act in school and many parents use teachers as a baby sitting service and kids go wild. I know from first hand experience…they run all over the teachers, letting them know that there is nothing that they can do about them acting out. Since mom and dad aren’t doing a dang thing about it, someone needs to!

  • Donnie

    The problem is that parents don’t want to spank or punish their children in any way. Until that changes, this law will not be implemented. A little fear can go a long way with a child, not to hurt them but to let them know the parent is in control. It takes time and effort to NOT turn your head the other way when children test you. A lot of parents these days turn their heads too often and leave it to the teachers and others to do their jobs.

    Parents need to remember that they are not and never will be their child’s best friend if they are parenting correctly. Guide them, love them, help them and punish them when they need it.

  • Willie Wonka

    WOW! Are you right wing psychos really okay letting the gov discipline your kids with the “Obama Spank”!? :p

  • Naithom (@naithom)

    It amazes me that people who yell, ‘Keep government out of my business’ would the turn around and allow teachers (or as they tend to refer to them – government thugs) to beat their child, or someone else’s child hard enough to leave a bruise.

    If a stranger came up and did that it would be classified as assault.

    In the past, people didn’t know better, spanking was the only form of discipline they knew. But, in time, it was discovered that there were better forms of discipline which didn’t re-enforce the inappropriate concept that those who love you, hurt you.

    Teachers are trained in how to handle a classroom of children without using violence. Finney’s bill is for teachers who didn’t learn the lesson the first time or have forgotten. They need retaining, not the ability to abuse children.

  • alessandra

    you know what gets me a lot of people are saying “no on will spank my kid but me. i carried them for 9 months its my right not anyone elses.” but guess what these are the same people that have children that are bullying other kids, acting up in school, being disrespectful to adults. If a kid got a good spanking with out an adult worrying about getting called on for abuse kids now a days wouldn’t be the rotten, disrespectful, horrible kids they are.
    The private school i went to when i was a kid did paddle the students (only the head master) all the parents of the kids that went to that private school gave permission for the head master to paddle there children if necessary. And out of all 3 yrs i went there there was only 4 kids that got paddled. And they got paddled for breaking into the school and destroying school property.
    the law needs to be made where the kids can’t make false statements against there parents for spanking them for doing something that is a spankable offense.

  • its my business

    Sorry, I admit I haven’t read all the pros and cons to the posters here. I will when I get a chance. I just have to say, “Any adult that hits or hurts my child will have to come through me.”

    This gives other people the right to take some anger out at any given moment to an otherwise correctnairy alternative situation. Showing abuse against a child in front of other children (or out in thre hall or at the Principal’s office) can set an ego or alter ego that says, “it’s ok to do that.” I come from a fly swatter, willow weeping tree branch type of discipline. But never once did it happen. It was a scare tactic. Take this away. No one touches me or my children except me. End of along story.

  • terry

    What is this world coming to? Really??? Come on? Why would someone even consider a bill like this? Remind me never to move to Kansas.

  • Brent Turner

    This is a easy one, I’m all for it. If it comes down to a child that’s being out of line bad enough to deserve a spanking, then just kick them out, Then it’s the parents problem. After about 3 or 4 different schools(or them losing there jobs) I bet they change there mind real quick about discipline in school.

  • Jenn

    Are you people kidding me? Hitting teaches HITTING. It does NOT teach respect. Take some time to CONNECT with your children instead of physically punishing them. READ THE RESEARCH people. I’m so sick of people saying, “I was hit and I turned out fine.” Is just raising to kid to be “fine” enough? Let’s strive for doing BETTER.

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