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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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At all ages, as in (say) a toddler, who runs out toward the street, ignoring your warnings?

Semantics and age are very relevant to this discussion, especially when it informs judicial interpretation of law.

We're talking about spanking, not running into the street.

Causing physical harm to prevent further physical harm is a generally accepted legal principle in any event. 

As someone who was victimized as a child with excessive use of corporal punishment I can tell you quite emphatically that fear should not be a motivator for behavior modification. The negative imprint on the mind of the child is not easily removed. There are more effective methods of correcting behavior. I had a high school football coach strike my buttocks with a large wooden paddle hard enough to leave bruising and welts. Writing one hundred times "I will not skip class to go to the pool hall." would of worked much better.  :^ )

That's rather surprising, since I'd much rather misbehave if the punishment is only writing on a blackboard  vs. getting paddled (and I'm talking about paddling that's merely painful, not physically harmful).

What you propose is contrary to common sense!

You might be surprised by how many would opt for the paddling instead of blackboard duty.

My opinion is, that hitting children teaches them nothing. It is abuse. If you explain to children why something is wrong, you are giving them reasons to think about, and you engage them cognitively. I think that we should move away from punitive punishments, towards open communication.

Okay, let's get hyperbole out of the way. When I talk, it's not about tossing newborns against the wall or hitting 12 year olds with baseball bats or knocking a teen to the ground and stomping on him till he needs hospitalization.

People who oppose corporal punishment tend to concentrate on extreme cases.

Where I went to school, if you got somewhat out of line, you got sent to study hall for an hour or two, either after school or giving up free time. If that didn't work or your offense was greater, you might be asked to write something 100 times on a blackboard. A worse offense could get you 1 to 5 swats with a wooden paddle on a clothed bum. If that failed, it was possible expulsion.

I don't think the goal of corporal punishment is teaching. I think it's correcting misbehavior, which is something else entirely.

Some kids simply can't be reasoned with and something needs to be done to get their attention.

But, what if those particular children are misbehaving because they have experienced violence in the home, and that is all they know? Or, what about children who may not be able to "behave" because they have fetal alcohol syndrome or Asperger's disorder; perhaps suffering from sound sensitivity? Situations are often complex and investigating a bit further, rather then applying a knee jerk punishment, may allow us to become more understanding and empathetic. Perhaps, we can help others who may be "misbehaving" and yet are reacting in the best way they know.  

The purpose of school is to teach math, languages, and other useful skills. It is not a social agency or even a branch of one. Teachers should, of course, be taught to try to recognize the symptoms of those problems and try to channel those students toward counseling, police investigations, or whatever, but teaching should be directed toward helping the majority of students learn something. Most students who misbehave are not saddled with such issues but are merely poorly disciplined.

You know German: Ausbildung.

non sequitur???

Not at all. The purpose of school is bildung: Making children into productive members of society. 

Was I wrong in my assertion of your knowledge of German? 


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