Recently I read about a bill in Kansas which will allow spanking children in schools. Teachers and caregivers will have the right to spank a child up to ten times, so hard that it could leave bruising and redness on the child. I want to know why any politician thinks that this should be a bill.
Why, with all of the child abuse in homes, do we feel the need to add to the abuse and pain for children in schools? For me, as well as many abused children, school was and is our only safe haven. You don’t have friends’ houses to go to—that isn’t allowed, lest you should tell of the abuse. You don’t get to take time off on the weekends—that is when the abuser is at their prime.
I have read many comments on the article and I applaud the parents and other adults commenting. They are standing for the children. What worries me is, what about those who aren’t commenting? What are they thinking? I wonder if a small minority of them are thinking, “Please don’t hit my child because that will take away from my time. They will need to heal from your spankings so my abuse will be interrupted.”
This may sound insane, but this is how it was in my household. I know for certain my father would have been amused to see more bruises on his children, and yet upset that we were already hurt and he would, therefore, have to wait until we healed so he could be the one to hit us again. He thrived on abusing the family.
I realize that the schools need ways to control children so they can learn, but I think that spanking to this extent is not the answer. When I was being abused, hit, at home I shut down entirely. I didn’t listen, talk, or even look at anyone. Is this what we want to teach our children? They will either become introverts who are afraid of everyone and everything, or they will become violent because that is what they know. It is proven that many abused children become abusers—do we want them to learn this in school?
I realize that most people don’t come from abusive homes, but everyone needs to see this from both sides of the coin. We don’t want to harm those who aren’t abused, and we don’t want to make it worse for those who are abused. I hope that Kansas will not pass this bill. For me, it will be a sad day if it does pass. For all children, it will be a very scary day.
Thank you to everyone who spoke up for the safety of children in this article. Let’s all hope for the right outcome. I hope for a day when no one feels that spanking will teach children to behave.
Stacey M. Kananen
Advocate, Author, Abuse survivor
Co-author of the best-selling book Fear of Our Father—a true story of abuse, murder and family ties,
Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded.
Now that her personal life is no longer private, Stacey is using her story to make waves. She and co-author Lisa Bonnice have written her life story, Fear of Our Father, published by Berkley Books in 2013. The book immediately shot to the top of Amazon’s various best-seller lists, where it remains.
Fear of Our Father – Berkley Books, 2013
Interview on the BBC World Service’s program Outlook
Emmy-nominated BBC Documentary: America’s Child Death Shame
Investigation Discovery series Catch My Killer — episode title “The Dearly Departed”
Tampa Bay Times article: Hudson woman finds new life after years of abuse, allegations of murder
Radio interview: On The Grid with Debbie Barth