Lawmaker pushing spanking protection act to prevent parents from being arrested for discipline

01/08/2014 06:02 PM

First term State Representative Gerald Watkins, D-Paducah, is proposing a bill in the 2014 session to give immunity to parents or guardians who want to discipline their children with spanking.

In an interview with Pure Politics, Watkins used personal examples of people he knows, including family members being questioned by police for spanking a child.

“You have to have discipline,” Watkins said. “And in today’s society because of the laws parents are scared to death to discipline their children and many times they don’t or they try to find ways that seem to be ineffective.”

Watkins believes the only manner of discipline necessary is a spanking on the buttocks with a paddle, hand or a belt. He said anywhere else on the body is not acceptable.

But Watkins said he sponsored House Bill 56 so that parents won’t have to fear police or social services intervention if the parents or guardians leave a mark on their children from discipline.

“If there is a crime committed like assault by a parent, arrest them, charge them and convict them,” Watkins said (at 1:40). “But just to discipline a child that doesn’t meet the criminal criteria then this would give the parent or legal guardian immunity from criminal or civil suit if all they do is discipline their child because there needs to be a balance.”

Some school districts in the state allow paddling of students in their schools, which Watkins said is appropriate if there is cause and there is a witness present.

“Corporal punishment works, I felt the end of it many times when I was in school and it is effective,” Watkins said. “And everyone will tell you that and I deserved it. But if you have some safe-guards there I believe it is a very effective form of discipline.”


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