Kansas lawmaker wants to legalize spanking of children violent enough to leave marks
My acquaintances, I’m sorry to say, include too many people who think there isn’t enough corporal punishment of children these days.
Never mind that most sociologists and psychologists warn that thrashing your kids runs the risk of warping their personalities. And never mind that the principal lesson taught by such punishment is that violence is an acceptable response to things that might displease you.
No, to hear some people tell it, they fondly recall when their dad took a belt to their backside. Ah, those were the good old days!
But, as we see HERE, an effort to legalize harsh spankings in the state of Kansas seems to have hit a roadblock:
Kansas state Rep. John Rubin, chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice committee, said Thursday his committee will not consider a bill filed by Rep. Gail Finney that would have allowed parents and teachers to spank children hard enough to leave redness or bruising.
“I don’t think it was carefully enough drafted,” said Rubin, a Republican. “I think it was overly broad.” Rubin said most of the prosecutors he has spoken with about the bill are not in favor of the legislation. He added that there has been “an outpouring of disenchantment” regarding the bill from the public and members of the committee.
Kansas is already among 19 states that allow corporal punishment in schools. But a lawmaker there said the intensity of the spanking may not be enough.
Democratic Rep. Gail Finney has introduced a bill that would allow parents, teachers and caregivers to spank children hard enough to leave redness or bruising. Under current state law, spanking that does not leave marks is already permitted.
Legal corporal punishment in schools typically means paddling students with a wooden board, according to the Center for Effective Discipline, a program of the nonprofit National Child Protection Training Center. Many school districts within those states that allow spanking prohibit corporal punishment.
Deborah Sendek, program director for the Center for Effective Discipline, called the proposed legislation in Kansas very shocking and disheartening.
“When you hear someone say, ‘We want to be able to hit them up to 10 times, we want to be able to leave redness marks and maybe bruising,’ and that’s acceptable, my question is where else is that acceptable? Is it acceptable in the workplace?” Sendek said.
New Mexico was the last state to ban corporal punishment in schools, in 2011, and before that Ohio, in 2009.
In 2011, North Carolina and Texas enacted laws allowing school personnel to administer corporal punishment on students unless their parents have told the school in writing not to, according to the Education Commission of the States. In North Carolina, all but a handful of school districts have stopped using corporal punishment.
In 2005-06, the last school year for which nationwide data are available from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, 223,190 children, or less than half of one percent, were subjected to physical punishment in schools across the country, a drop of almost 18 percent from two years earlier. The number of children hit in schools has declined steadily since the early 1980s.
Finney’s bill would allow “up to 10 forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child and any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result.”