LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just about a year ago, Kentucky State Rep. Steve Riley filed a bill to get rid of corporal punishment in schools. Now a few months later, Rep. Jason Nemes is his right hand man co-sponsoring the bill; but that wasn't before questioning it still existed.
"When he filed it, I thought to myself is this still a thing in Kentucky?" Nemes said.
And it is. He says as a parent himself who didn't realize, there must be many others in the state who don't realize this is still allowed.
But the bluegrass state isn't alone. They are joined by 19 other states across the country which means over 160,000 children are subject to this kind of treatment.
Those include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.
"It's time to go ahead and move into the 21st century and not use physical discipline for students," Nemes said.
So what is corporal punishment? Well it's defined as the use of physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience pain so as to correct their misbehavior.
"What this bill does is it says you can't put a child in physical pain to make them behave," he explains.
He says Jefferson County doesn't use corporal punishment. As the biggest school district, just shy of 100,000 students, if they don't need it, other systems can function without it as well.
He explains JCPS is setting an example for other school systems. "I don't think that teachers and principals should be making those decisions and I don't think they should be expected to make those decisions."
So now with a ban prefiled, these reps are hoping to join the other 31 states who don't allow it. Although Nemes says he expects a bit of opposition, he feels it won't be enough to stop the bill from becoming a law.
"I think there will be a little bit of opposition but I don't think there will be a lot of opposition in the general assembly."
As a parent himself, Nemes says some places in Kentucky still spank young students without parents permission.
With a strong understanding of the current law and how they feel schools should be disciplining state wide, the two lawmakers feel this bill will only enhance their trust in the teachers.
"I trust these people and so when we drop them off to school we do trust that they are being taken care of and that they are safe," he said.
The other part of the bill would allow Frankfort to have a central database to keep track of school violence. It would allow them to monitor what's going on in the schools in one place.