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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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Having trouble making sense of the world around you...maybe a spanking would a matter of argument I am sure it would.

I as the authority figure here I will make you understand by causing you pain, you will in turn learn this wonderful method of teaching, which will in time lead you to teach other weaker individuals in the same way.

Isn't parenting from ignorance fun?

Kris, there are an abundant number of well written books in your local library on this subject. The educated portion of our society has come to understand that causing children pain results in negative results not positive ones.

Rational intelligent parents have learned a better method then the spanking method their ignorant parents used on them.

We're trying to build a better world here Kris, get on board, the train's leaving the station and you don't want to be left behind.

It ain't about you, it's about the content of your posts.

@kris feenstra:

Re: "None of your comments relate to any position I have taken, yet you have named me specifically."

From your posts:

"They do not have the same rights as those of the age of majority."

"Children do not have the same rights as adults."

"Some physical harm will be deemed acceptable if it ultimately serves the child's benefit."

"Physical harm, in itself, is not the threshold for abusive behavior."

"Consent, where children are concerned, is weighed differently based on context."

"For instance, a vaccination will cause minor physical harm which is outweighed by the benefits of the procedure."

"...body of law...court rulings...sections of law...this law merely clarifies the limits...The Supreme Court..."

Kris, the empirical data has been in for a very long time. Causing pain to children results in both physical and psychological harm.  Just because some authoritative body gives it's tacit approval, does not make it correct.

Kris, you may not be a child spanker (beater/abuser) yourself but you are most assuredly an enabler of others.

It is well past time to discontinue this barbaric religious practice.

Maybe it's time to start spanking the parents in place of their children.


As I read your posts Kris, they have a bios toward using pain on children as a training technique. 

So which is it kris, do you or do you not believe in using pain to train/discipline/modify/control/etc. children.

Pick a side...I have.

Civil liberties and unalienable rights start at birth.

A man who strikes a child cannot be called a man in the truest sense of the word 'man'.....coward suits him better.

There are only two kinds of rights: legislated and imaginary. Only a GOD can make rights lalienable. Rights also don't exist when unenforceable. 

When you want to give someone a right, you pass a law establishing the right along with a way to enforce it.

I'm surprised that in a forum consisting of critical thinkers you propose an idea that is essentially metaphysical in nature.

As for your last paragraph, that is an expression of an attitude, not a fact.


"Rights also don't exist when unenforceable. "

When I got to this part my jaw dropped.

When I got to this part my jaw dropped.

Your jaw muscles just lost their right to free speech!

Thanks for you concern Poppie, I'm feeling better already, so good in fact I have decided to go spank some kids in the local day care.

This thread has run it's course, I've lost interest.

You presuppose a god.

Unless one sees children as property and not natural persons, the law must apply also to them. As long as it is illegal to physically harm adults it must also be illegal to physically harm children.

I think the meaning of the word "harm" is at issue here, too. It's not as clear-cut as most people (on both sides of the argument) seem to believe. What is more clear imo, is that certain kinds of spanking and "striking" are more harmful than others. Even "a slap on the butt" can have widely variable intensity, so definitions are important, especially in law. 

No need to argue semantics, it's quite easy to see the distinction: Would the act be OK if it was an adult? Then it's OK with a child. And vice versa.

If anything, children have expanded rights compared to adults in many instances, especially considering negative rights.


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