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bill introduced by a Wichita lawmaker would ease some restrictions on spanking in Kansas, allowing parents, caregivers or school officials to hit children hard enough to leave redness or bruising.

Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, who introduced the bill, said it attempts to define corporal punishment, restore parental rights and protect parents who spank their children from being charged with child abuse.

“What’s happening is there are some children that are very defiant and they’re not minding their parents, they’re not minding school personnel,” Finney said Tuesday.

“What it (the proposed law) does is it tries to give a definition. … But it does not allow hitting, punching, beating, because that is still considered abuse.”

Current Kansas law allows spanking that does not leave marks. The proposed legislation, House Bill 2699, would define corporal punishment as “up to 10 forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child.”

The bill also would allow “reasonable physical force” to restrain a child during a spanking, “acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result.”

It would continue to ban hitting a child with fists, in the head or body or with a belt or switch.

The bill would allow parents to give permission to others, including school officials, to spank their children, including students over 18 who are enrolled in high school.

“Corporal punishment is already allowed by law in Kansas,” Finney said. “It’s just trying to get a definition, because what’s happening is our kids and some of our law-abiding parents are entering into DCF (the Department of Children and Families) and law enforcement custody when it could have been avoided.

“It could be a small amount of a bruise (and) a parent could still be charged with child abuse when it wasn’t anything serious,” she said.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said current state law is plenty clear on the difference between spanking and abuse.

Abuse of a child, a felony, is defined as “torturing or cruelly beating” a child, shaking that results in bodily harm or “inflicting cruel and inhuman corporal punishment.”

Battery, a class B misdemeanor, is “knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person or … causing physical contact with another person when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner.”

“We don’t arrest people for giving their kid a swat on the behind,” Bennett said.

“There seems to be an effort here to line-item all the things that can be done and can’t be done. … I’ve been doing this for 19 years now, and there’s no ‘redness rule’ or ‘10-strike rule’ or ‘closed-fist rule’ in Kansas law. I don’t know, frankly, what’s driving this.”

Opponents of spanking called the measure disturbing.

John Valusek, a retired Wichita psychologist and teacher who spearheaded a decades-long crusade against spanking, said any use of force against children is unnecessary and damaging.

“If you hit kids when they’re small, for whatever reason you’re hitting them, you’re planting the idea that it’s OK to use pain to accomplish an end,” he said.

What do you think about it being legal to the point of "leaving a mark." ???

Me personally.....I'm astounded that we're even discussing this. But......I am against it (of course.)......and appauled. We should be able to spank our lawmakers when they misbehave. THAT would be awesome! LOL!!!

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I, too, am appalled by this and very much disagree with spanking kids! Causing pain in any way to anyone or anything is never okay.

Causing pain in any way to anyone or anything is never okay.

Normally I would totally agree with this sentiment, however, I do have to disagree on this specific point.

First, let me say out right that I do NOT condone child abuse in any way. However, I see it as more abusive to the child, and to society for that matter, to not discipline your children in a way that makes them actually understand that the behavior that they are being punished for is wrong. The severity of the spanking depends on the severity of the offense. I remember the one and only time that I ever stole something. It was a package of bubble gum at the super market. My mom spanked me so hard that I couldn't sit down for an hour, and she explained to me that taking something that doesn't belong to me was a very bad thing to do. The pain isn't the teacher, the pain is the motivator. We, as do most other species, learn to avoid anything that hurts, and therefore using a spanking as a teaching tool to avoid negative behavior is the best thing that you can do.

Changing the law so that it stipulates that some bruising may occur, but still outlining what exactly is allowed, is a very mature and well thought out thing to do.

Of course, anyone with common sense knows how to spank their child right? Go about your day and interact with as many people as you can. Keep track of how many people you think don't have any common sense. You'll get to double digits before lunch time. Laws like this are for THOSE people.


"Keep track of how many people you think don't have any common sense."

You for one.

You are not qualified to be a parent.

If you have children, put them up for adoption immediately.

Says the known troll on this sight. NEXT!

Can I be a troll asshole please?  Thank you.

If you're legally an adult, you're legally an adult. You can vote, but they still ask your mommy if it's okay to spank you?

Yep... it's bizarre here in Australia too... not allowed to leave school grounds early/arrive late, and when you do, you have to go sign in/out. And in Australia, the legal age of adulthood for everything is 18... we could literally buy a bottle of rum on our way to school and still be treated like a child when we got there.

  1. We better spank the outrageous idea of beating kids!

  2. I disagree with spanking any kids won't using violence to gain conformity or to punish grow a society where violence is ok?

  3. Hitting kids is a form of child abuse. you don't need to use violence to get across a viewpoint.

  I believe at an appropriate age children should learn that there are consequences to their actions. Corporal punishment however seems excessive. There was a thought provoking mini series about a year ago, it was called The Slap. Based upon a book of the same name, it chronicles the fall out from one adult hitting another's child at a neighborhood barbecue. Check it out!!

There is a natural system for learning the consequences of ones own actions. It's cause and effect. Drink too much, you become ill, climb to high up the tree, you fall out and bust your ass, act aggressively, and other people will hate and avoid you. I never learned any thing from any form of punishment except that getting caught sucks and authority is not your friend.  

If (and it's a big if) spanking was shown to produce results, I could maybe get behind something like this. However, spanking doesn't produce results, it produces bruises... The only reason to spank is to relieve your own anger and to be honest, that's not really a good enough reason.

...and I smiled. (the art of subtility)

If some school teacher or self-righteous neighborhood watch fiend ever laid a hand on my kid, I would lose my shit. I do believe the police would need to be involved.

My parents' generation were struck, paddled, had their knucles rapped, and made to do demeaning, painful public punishments. My dad had a dictionary thrown across the room at his head. My Uncle got hit every week because he had ADD and dyslexia. Yeah, this is a really effective way to address learning and behavioral problems.

What is wrong with some adults that expanding and defining corporal punishment is top priorty? Who wakes up and thinks, you know what's wrong with the world today...parents just can't slap their kids hard like they need to!  This official is a misguided, authoritarian asshole.


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