A Kansas state representative was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery after he reportedly went on a religious rant while working as a substitute teacher and ended up in a physical altercation with a student.
Rep. Mark Samsel, a Republican who represents parts of four rural counties southeast of the capital Topeka, was busted by the Franklin County Sheriff Thursday, a day after the bizarre incident at Wellsville United School District’s high school.
Students in Samsel’s classes were recording videos of the lawmaker throughout the day, talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible, The Kansas City Star reported.
In one video shared with the paper, Samsel tells students about “a sophomore who’s tried killing himself three times,” adding that it was because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”
In another video, Samsel is recorded telling students, “make babies. Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it? Procreate. … You haven’t masturbated? Don’t answer that question….God already knows.”
Additional clips shared with the paper by angry parents showed Samsel focusing on one male student as they both wandered around the classroom talking back and forth.
Samsel follows the boy and grabs him. Another showed him saying,
“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?” He then pushes him, and the student runs to the other side of the classroom. “You should run and scream.”
Samsel was also videoed telling students, “Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls.”
He allegedly kneed the boy in the crotch amid another rant. A video taken right after that shows the boy on the ground as Samsel stands over him asing, “Did it hurt?”
Samsel, who is also an attorney, was released on bond after his arrest.
The second term representative told Fox 4 News that no one was ever in danger. “Did we make it look like we were in anger or outregeous or hurting kids? Yeah, we made it look that way,” Samsel said.
He repeated the claim that the incident was “all planned” in a Snapchat post shared with The Star.
“Every little bit of it. That’s right. 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 posted.
He wrote that he gave one particular student “hope.”
Samsel won’t be allowed to substitute teach in the district anymore, but he also works with students in other capacities, including as a referee and with church groups.
Jessica Roberts, a mother with two children who attend the school, said that she is now more concerned about Samsel’s involvement in youth sports and activities.
“I think he shouldn’t be around children,” she told the Star.
House Speaker Ron Ryckman told The Star that “we’re not yet aware of the details and in the process of gathering as much information as we can.”