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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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It seems like no one is supposed to discipline children anymore. I wouldn't want to be a school administrator nowadays. The role of parents today seems to be to strenuously enable the misbehavior of their offspring. At the same time, any teacher who hugs a child risks being labeled a pedophile.

It depends on how you define 'discipline.' There were penalties and reprecussions for poor bahviour at my school. The administration was vigilant about enforcement and I think that's why we only had a couple of actual fights while I was at high school. 

I like your approach!

I'm editing this to add that I know some people who've combined inconsistant expectations with corporeal punishment and given their children a lot of issues. I worry about those kids.

You know, I'm not for pulling down a kid's pants and throwing them over your knee and slapping their butt so hard that they are in agony and their ass cheeks turn bright pink.

However, a single swat on a clothed bottom can be an attention-getter. If I'm "modeling" single swats on clothed bottoms when the child becomes a parent, so be it. I won't lose any sleep over that.

However, once the child is of an age that you can reason with them and apply other punishments (time outs, grounding, no TV for a period of time, etc.), then it's time to go that route.

I'm a teacher. I don't think that I should be spanking anyone's child. But I do understand the frustration that is motivating these misguided laws. Teachers, and to a lesser extent administrators and school districts, are held accountable. We have a job to do- to help each and every child reach his /her highest potential. If we don't succeed in this there are consequences-you could loose your job. I don't have a problem with that. In fact I think accountability is actually good for our profession, at least in theory. (Those who CAN, teach)
What I do have a problem with is the imbalance of accountability. Students are not held accountable for their role. I am not exaggerating when I say that the teachers in our elementary school are hit and sworn at by children on a regular basis. And when you try to conference with the parent to create a system to reinforce positive behaviors and to meet negative behaviors with natural consequences (ground them from their video games, Make them write letters of apology or do community service projects) we are most often met with excuses for the behavior, ignored, or insulted further by the parents. There needs to be accountability. I set it up in my room, but it would sure be nice to be able to take the support of my parents for granted instead of being afraid to talk to the parents because they'll go complain to the school board that "you're picking on little Johnny".
Parents are not held accountable. I have a boy in my room who is absent at least 25% of the days. And when he is there he lays on the floor in the back of the room and interrupts the other kids. All year long, I have been trying to get a conference with the mom. She either doesn't return my calls/emails or cancels at the last minute. I have gone ahead and asked that the boy be staffed for EBD. I think if the parent could be more involved in this child's education the need for him to be placed in an emotional/behavioral disorder room might have been avoided. Another example, parents tell there kids to hit other students when they "won't leave you alone". Many of the kids in our population are completely unsupervised and are raising themselves.
So spanking isn't the answer but we need to do something.

Unfortunately we don't live in a society that requires training and a license to be a parent.

When I went to high school, blatant miscreants were paddled. I can remember being paddled three times at least. Not only that, our parants were notified and things were not pleasant over the dinner table.

Parents supported the teachers.

I wanted to defend myself here for spanking one of my daughters a few times. It was never out of anger, and it was never more than two slaps on a naked butt, and never a bruise. It was usually only one slap, only leaving a red mark. I felt bad every time, but assured myself it was good for her in the long run.

Now I don't know. She's a great, wonderful, happy, successful, respectful, confident kid! But I honestly don't know if or how much my "discipline" made a positive or negative difference, in the end. (My other daughter was never as troublesome or disrespectful, and never "needed" discipline.)

As far as how society at large should act, I think it's clear that the cost of child abuse outweighs the benefit of unconditional love; it's surely better for society to err toward too much love. The kinds of abuse that society should surely be addressing are those that are motivated by anger, policies of "zero tolerance" that automatically exclude reasonable judgement, compassion, and positive behavioral modifications.

As a child I was 'SPANKED', one story:

I disobeyed my mother one morning before grade school, she wanted me to change my shirt, I saw no reason to change it, she saw no reason to explain to me why I should change it, in her mind a spanking was called for.

At the time I was smaller and weaker then her, unable to resist her superior strength, she pulled down my pants exposing the nakedness of my lower half.  She held me by the arm and reached for the nearest 'tool' with which to administer the 'spanking', a wire coat hanger. 

The first strike landed upon my bare bottom, the pain caused a reaction, I tried to move away from the source of the pain.  But she was still holding by my arm, the resulting effect of the physics was the turn my body 180 degrees. 

The second strike landed on my genitals...a wire coat hanger struck against the head of your penis will cause a great deal of pain.  As I screamed in pain, my dear sweet Roman Catholic mother said: "You shouldn't have turned around."

It was just a simple 'spanking' what harm could there be?

I'm 67. When I was a kid, we actually lived in the society Hillary Clinton CLAIMS to favor ("It takes a village to raise a child.") If an adult were to walk in on a minor, say, defacing the mirror, depending upon his age he might have been walked out by the ear to his waiting parents, been pushed around while being yelled at, or received some sort of physical punishment (a hard punch on the arm, perhaps, not spanking).

What does "It takes a village to raise a child" mean if not that we are all parents to all of the children in our society?

I realize that in a diverse society like ours, this isn't really possible so I think that little slogan is simply nonsense.

You're conveniently forgetting that American education was better at producing academically prepared students back when corporal punishment enforced discipline. The stats are undeniable. Perhaps we are reaping what we sowed when we made schools get all touchy-feely. 

Real consequences for misbehavior and stricter dress codes are often the hallmark of the more successful schools.

Discipline and dress codes have been the hallmark of Catholic schools, which very frequently outperform public schools academically. Ditto for private schools.

Dress codes have a demonstrated effect on gang activity in schools. Violence goes down in measurable ways as well. It's hard to perform as a gang member when your clothing doesn't pronounce your gang affiliation. When everyone is dressed within the same limited parameters, who is flashier than whom becomes less of a topic of attention and conversation. 

Separation of the sexes is another hallmark of many of the top-performing schools.

Hahahaha....I know a place where your ideas are implemented everyday, it's called North Korea...I don't know about the others but I don't think I'll follow their lead, I'm going in the other direction.


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