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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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Three words. Ok four. OH HELL FUKIN NO.

Only if they amend the bill with a clause that gives me, the parent, the right to take the person who hit my child and break their hands one finger at a time.


It's already a law, a natural law, it's the 'Touch My Kid I'll Break Your Fingers LAW'.

I was spanked as a child, and I didn't really see much wrong with it until I started reading Libby Anne's blog, and in particular her series on "To Train Up a Child". Even though my spanking was "reasonable", as opposed to the "Beat them til they're broken and don't even think about complaining" described there, it helped me to see how harmful spanking can be.

I have heard plenty of arguments about that kids in schools are too defiant, that they get away with too much...but I can't see how letting school administrators hit somebody else's kid could ever be a good idea.

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.

Really? They want this to go up to kids over 18? If my parents tried to spank me once I was over 18 I think I would have left. Once you get to that point, (a) that's creepy, because Unwanted Sexual Overtones, (b) if the kid is "defiant" enough to warrant spanking, don't you think they would hit back? and (c) you're basically an adult at 18. Are they training up adults who will submit to "spanking" by an authority figure?

I could imagine a couple of the punks I went to school with taking a swing back.

That happened in my high school back in the day.  We had a guy with the title Dean of Students, he had a small oar he painted red that he hit kids on the butt with, until one day he tried to hit this one senior.  Long story short the DoS got himself an ass-kicken. :D  Well deserved I might add the guy was a dick who liked his job too much.

I went to Collinwood High School in Cleveland and it had a reputation for, shall we say, unnecessary roughness on the part of the student body. It was in a neighborhood that was mostly Italian but with a lot of "DP's" (displaced persons) as we called them. Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Hungarians, etc., but it was in the early stages of integration with about 10% blacks. 

It was a tense place to be going to high school. 

Our homeroom teacher was a short, slightly-built Puerto Rican man with a thick accent, and of course the kids made fun of him, mostly behind his back but sometimes right to his face. I remember one morning when one of the problem boys got into a face-off with him and took a swing at the teacher. Well, as tough as he imagined he was, whatever his life up to that point, it apparently was no match for growing up on the streets of Puerto Rico. That fight was over fast with the student going to the office with a bloody nose.

The teacher took over like nothing had happened. Nobody challenged him again.

That's awesome.

But today that teacher would have been fired and sued, probably by both the parents and the school system, not to mention charged with some crime.

If my parents tried to spank me once I was over 18 I think I would have left.

Past a certain point, the spanker will become a spankee.

I was going to dash off a quick reply saying that I was a bad kid, that I got beat regularly (mostly by priests and nuns) and that I never did me any harm. Then it occurred to me. It never did me any good, either. I was a miscreant until USMC Boot Camp. I feel compelled to say that behaviour patterns CAN be altered. I'd like to see discussion on how this is accomplished and how to change public attitudes to behaviour-modifying programs such as USMC Boot Camp.

As near as I understand, developmental science says spanking is counter-productive for eliciting better behavior.  That being said, I understand that there may be a benefit to a stressed care-giver who really needs a short term solution (getting all the kids dressed and out the door in time for the car-pool).  When it comes to teachers, however, I feel that spanking identifies a teacher who does not have enough support from both/either the education system and/or the child's parents.

My volunteering has put me in a position of taking care of some special needs kids who can be very, very frustrating.  Fortunately I always had the support I needed to get another caregiver to help me long before any form of physical aggression became overly compelling.  I can only say that I think we really need to engineer our species' reproductive priorities in such a way that we can provide support to all caregivers that would circumvent the need for spankings.  Passing legislation that enables spankers really just shifts the priority from providing support to providing an outlet for frustration.


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