Last evening KSN aired a story about a discussion on how best to discipline children. The Maize Police Department was consulted for part of this story. Understanding television news outlets only have a very short segment of time to provide a story, we wanted to provide some additional talking points. One of the most concerning trends law enforcement is starting to see is children "fearing" the police at a very young age due to parents threatening their children with the police if they misbehave. In past times, children were taught to respect and not fear police officers, that police officers were their friends if they were ever afraid or in need of help. When a small child is told by a parent that they better behave or they will have the police arrest them, it instills an unnecessary and unwarranted fear in the child. Here are the talking points: • Parents are fearful of disciplining their children in fear of being arrested or criminally charged with a crime (child abuse). • Kids are learning and growing up to “fear” the police because parents use the police to “scare” their kids into compliance. • More and more often, parents are calling the police to deal with an unruly or disobedient child, such as a child who is refusing to go to school or is being disruptive in the home. • Love and discipline go hand in hand. Parents can, should and do have the right to discipline and instill accountability, responsibility, and respect in their children while at the same time providing a loving and nurturing environment for the child to grow. • Not every discipline issue with a child is or should be a law enforcement matter. Parents have the right and duty to raise their children into respectable, law abiding adults. • And equally, children do not have the right to abuse the system by calling 9-1-1 and attempting to have their parent arrested for instilling needed discipline. Generally, law enforcement officers don’t arrest parents for giving their kid a swat on the behind. • Law Enforcement Officers evaluate calls of alleged child abuse on a case by case basis and the totality of circumstances surrounding the alleged abuse. Some factors officers take into consideration are: The type/extent of injury inflicted upon the child. The physical, emotional, and/or mental state of the child. Past history or allegations of abuse. The circumstances which led to the alleged abuse. K.S.A. 21-5602. Abuse of a child. (A Felony) (a) Abuse of a child is knowingly: (1) Torturing, or cruelly beating any child under the age of 18 years; (2) shaking any child under the age of 18 years which results in great bodily harm to the child; or (3) inflicting cruel and inhuman corporal punishment upon any child under the age of 18 years. K.S.A. 21-5413. Battery (A Misdemeanor) (a) Battery is: (1) Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person; or (2) knowingly causing physical contact with another person when done in a rude, insulting or angry manner; Most of the officers of the Maize PD are parents and we truly understand parenting is challenging and difficult at times, especially now more than ever it seems. How parents discipline their children is a personal decision, but whatever discipline is chosen, it must be started at a young age, be consistent, and be reinforced with love.