A Kansas state representative wants to give adults more leeway to discipline children.
Gail Finney, a Democrat from Wichita, Kan., is proposing a bill that would allow teachers and caregivers to spank children up to ten times with an open hand and also allow them to leave red marks or bruises.
“‘Corporal punishment’ means up to ten 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,” reads the bill, which was referred to the Committee on Corrections and Juvenal Justice on Monday.
Under current Kansas law, teachers and caregivers are allowed to spank children as long as no marks are left. Kansas is one of 20 states that allows corporal punishment to be doled out at school. The new bill would allow teachers and other authorities to carry out the punishment if given permission by parents.
Britt Colle, a McPherson County deputy assistant attorney who proposed the bill to Finney, says that the new law is meant to protect teachers and parents from lawsuits and punishment for carrying out discipline.
“Knowing that some people have more tender skin than others acknowledges the fact that some redness or slight bruising may occur from a spanking,” Colle told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “What this bill will allow is a parental option that has to be in writing.”
Still, some parents are not happy with the message that the law sends.
“I get it that there are some kids that get out of control, but it is the parent’s responsibility to discipline their kids, not the teachers,” said Jasmine Foster, who has children attending public school in Wichita.
Another Wichita woman says that she’ll opt for homeschooling when her daughter reaches school age if such a bill is passed. “If you hit a child anywhere on their body hard enough to leave a bruise, that is not discipline,” said Samantha Housman. “That is abuse.”
John Rubin, who chairs the Committee on Corrections and Juvenal Justice, says he is not sure that the bill will be taken up in committee. If not, Finney plans to re-up the bill in the next legislative session, KCTV-Kansas City reports.
Finney was not available for comment.
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