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Kansas Looking to Permit Harder Spanking of Children

A lawmaker in Kansas, House member Gail Finney, would like to give teachers and caregivers more power to spank children, according to a report from KCTV.

Finney, a Democrat from Wichita, said that a new bill has been created in order to restore rights of parents. The new bill would expand the law in effect right now. The current law permits spanking that does not leave any marks on the child. If the bill created by Finney passes, then 10 strikes by the hand would be permitted. Redness and bruising would also be allowed under the new bill.

“Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn’t sit in car seats, and we do now. So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child,” child abuse expert from Children’s Mercy Hospital, Amy Terreros said.  Terreros is also a pediatric nurse.

The idea of the expansion of the spanking law was proposed to Finney by Britt Colle, the McPherson Deputy County Attorney.



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“This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal,” Colle said. “This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not.”

Colle also noted that the new law would make clear that using fists to hit a child could be considered abuse. The law would also make hitting a child with a switch or a belt illegal. Also illegal in the new bill would be hitting a child in the body or head.

Those in favor of the bill in Kansas claim that children have lost respect for authority and parents have to be able to discipline their children without fear of repercussions. On the other side of things, 30 states have banned corporal punishment.

John Rubin is the committee chair. He said he still isn’t sure if he will even consider the new bill. To that end, Finney said she would introduce a new proposal, similar to this one, at the next legislative session.

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