Hit ’Em Harder!: Kansas Lawmaker Wants To Ease Corporal Punishment Law
If Dorothy ever knew what would become of her home state of Kansas, she’d probably give the witch her slippers and stay in OZ forever.
A week after a bill passed the Kansas House that could legalize discrimination against gay couples, a Kansas lawmaker has put forth a proposal that would give teachers and caregivers the authority to spank children harder; hard enough to leave a mark. Local Fox affiliate KCTV reports.
"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 introduced the idea of ramping up corporal punishment to representative Gail Finney (D-Wichita) who is proposing the bill. "This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not."
The New York Daily News reports that the proposed bill intends to lighten the spanking laws, allowing parents or anyone given permission by a parent, ten hand spankings as well as smacks that could cause redness and bruising.
The proposed legislation on spanking, 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 Wichita Eagle reports that because he bill spells out the manner in which a parent could strike a child, the proposed law would ban hitting a child with fists, in the head, or with a belt or switch.
KCTV reports that local supporters of the bill say that children are losing respect for authority and that parents need to be able to punish or have their children punished without fear of legal repercussions.
According to The Center for Effective Discipline, nineteen states have laws permitting corporal punishment in schools. Data released March 2008 show that of the nineteen states allowing physical punishment of of students, Kansas actually scored very low, with only 50 students being physically punished in the school year reported. Forty percent of all cases reported occurred in two states: Texas and Mississippi.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee said that the bill would not get a hearing, thus killing the bill in committee.
Rep Finney who proposed the bill says she plans to re-introduce a similar proposal again next legislative session.
The spanking bill isn’t the first controversial piece of failed legislation from the Sunflower State to make national headlines. Last week a bill passed the Kansas House of Representatives that would legalize discrimination against gay couples. The bill was killed this week in the State Senate.