A state lawmaker in Kansas was charged with misdemeanor battery violation and briefly detained after reportedly ranting to students about God, sex and suicide while substitute teaching.
The incident occurred Wednesday. State Rep. Mark Samsel (R) was arrested Thursday and was subsequently released on bond, the Franklin County, Kansas sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday.
The Kansas City Star subsequently reported more detail of the alleged incident, which occurred when Samsel was substitute teaching at a high school in Wellsville, Kansas.
According to video from parents and students obtained by the paper, Samsel followed a student around the room and put his arms around the student.
He told the student at one point, “You’re about ready to anger me and get the wrath of God. Do you believe me when I tell you that God has been speaking to me?” the paper reported. Samsel then pushed the student, the Star added.
“You should run and scream,” the lawmaker reportedly said.
The Star also reported on allegations from parents that Samsel kneed the student in the crotch. In one video reported by the Star, he told the class, “Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls.”
Video separately showed the student on the ground, the Star reported, before showing Samsel telling the student to “go to the nurse” and then telling another student, “do you want to check his nuts for him, please?”
Another video posted online by the Star showed Samsel telling students, “Make babies! Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it? Procreate.”
“You haven’t masturbated? Don’t answer that question,” he’s heard saying on the video.
“I’m not going to answer that question,” someone says.
“Thank you, I told you not to,” Samsel responds. “God already knows.”
Separately, video showed Samsel telling a story about a student who the lawmaker claimed had tried to kill themselves multiple times because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”
“His alternatives in life were having no parents or foster care parents who are gay,” Samsel is heard saying on the video.
In another video, Samsel described Senate President Ty Masterson (R) as “the devil disguised in a suit and a smile.”
“I have no response to what is clearly the deranged rantings of a troubled man,” Masterson told The Star in a statement. “It is obvious from the shocking videos he shouldn’t be in a classroom or around children.”
In a statement on Thursday, the school district’s superintendent Ryan Bradbury said “Wellsville USD 289 is aware of the situation that occurred involving a substitute teacher on April 28, 2021. The appropriate authorities were notified. The situation is being thoroughly investigated. Student safety has and always will be our first priority.”
Bradbury said privacy laws prevented him from commenting further, but the Star reported he said Samsel would no longer teach at the school.
In a lengthy Facebook post Sunday — one that since has apparently been removed or made private — Samsel said that he was “truly sorry that this has caused pain and confusion,” but muddied the waters about what the videos showed, the Star reported.
“What happened in Wellsville on Wednesday? Only God knows,” he wrote. “I have my version. You have yours.”
In an interview with KSNT after the incident, Samsel claimed “there was no altercation. I’m sure there’s one or two students that probably perceived it as one.”
And in that interview and on a Snapchat post reported by the Star, Samsel bizarrely claimed the incident was “planned.”
“The kids and I planned ALL this to SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another. To who? Parents. And grandparents. And all of Wellsville,” he wrote on Snapchat, the paper reported.
Samsel did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment Monday.