Spanking children teaches violence

New bill Kansas could allow teachers to exact corporal punishment, harms more than just childrens’ posteriors

Story by Katy Macek, Copy Editor

When I was little, my mom’s form of punishment was to send me to my room for an allotted amount of time, or refuse to let me go play outside with my friends. I learned my lesson from my punishment, and not once did she ever lay a hand on me.

I’m no expert, and I may be a little biased, but I think I turned out to be a fine young woman with modest values and beliefs. Not once have I looked back and thought, “If my mom had only spanked me, maybe I would have learned that lesson better.”

Last week a bill was proposed in Kansas allowing teachers and authorized caregivers to enforce “corporal punishment” on children in public schools.

As stated in section one of the bill, corporal punishment is defined as “up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child.”

Additionally, the bill allows using reasonable force to restrain the child, “acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result.”

Democratic representative Gail Finney introduced the bill to legislation in order to clarify current laws, which could charge parents with child abuse simply if the child has a small bruise, according to an article in the Wichita Eagle.

“What it does is it tries to give a definition,” Finney said in the article. “But it does not allow hitting, punching, beating, because that is still considered abuse.”

Well good, I’m glad they are drawing the line somewhere.

Not only was this unbelievable to me, but even more so was the fact that 19 other states including Wyoming, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and 14 others still allow corporal punishment in schools, according to an article published on

The good news is that number has decreased slightly in the last 35 years. In 1980, it was legal to spank children in 45 states, and in 2004, 22 schools allowed teachers to hit students, that same article stated.

Which sounds well and good until you begin to look a little closer at the numbers. In 2006, the Department of Education did a survey on 60,000 schools and discovered that more than 223,000 children in the United States received a physical form of punishment.

I work with children 12 hours a week, and I know that there are times when they just won’t listen and it can get frustrating. But I would never in my life dream of leaving any physical mark on them.

There are simply more influential ways to teach a child a lesson rather than hurting them, and even if they listen to you then it will only be because they are scared of you.

Children need to be taught many things as they learn how the world works, but using violence as a means of asserting authority should never be one of them.

John Valusek, a retired psychologist in Witchita, used to give lectures about spanking to the community.

“Even with the best of intentions, with the best parents, once you use spanking, whether you’re doing it in God’s name or whatever, you’re saying it’s OK to use pain to accomplish certain purposes,” Valusek said in the Wichita Eagle article.

These are not lessons that our children should be learning, and if parents are going to be charged of child abuse for a bruise, it is that law that should be changed, not the laws of the school districts.