Proposed Kansas Bill Would Allow Spanking Hard Enough To Leave Marks on Children

| by Dominic Kelly

A Kansas lawmaker is proposing a controversial bill that would allow parents, teachers, and caregivers to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

Democratic House member Gail Finney says that the new bill would allow for an adult to give up to 10 strikes of the hand and would make it OK if that spanking left marks or bruises on the child. In addition, the bill would allow for parents to give others permission to spank their children. The current Kansas law allows for spanking, but does not allow for it to leave a mark on a child. The new bill would expand on this law.

"This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal," said McPherson Deputy County Attorney Britt Colle, who proposed the bill to Finney. "This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not."

While there are many who support this bill, some experts say that spanking isn’t as effective as it used to be.

"20, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now, said pediatric nurse practitioner and child abuse specialist Amy Terreros to KCTV. “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.”

Fellow lawmakers say they aren’t sure that the House committee would even consider this bill, so the chance of it ever being made law is up in the air.