A elected Republican official that reigned a full school day of terror on high schoolers in his district as a substitute teacher has finally given up his ability to work as an educator and has pledged to seek mental health treatment as he faces trial for his actions.
All hell broke loose when Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel (R) worked at Wellsville High School, a school of about 225 in Wellsville, Kansas, on April 28. He berated teens all day, culminating with him grabbing one student and pushing him against the wall — before attacking another by invoking the “wrath of God,” intentionally hitting him in his genitals, and inviting others in the class to do it too.
This was after Samsel, an attorney by trade, spent the day pleading with students to follow God, asking them about their masturbation habits, demanding that the children he’s teaching “make babies” because “it feels good,” and claiming that a sophomore at the school is contemplating suicide because they have lesbian parents.
He subsequently claimed to local media that he and the students had planned his actions, but still claimed that he did nothing wrong, even after footage and testimony from the day of terror showed otherwise.
Now, facing a trial on criminal charges for his actions, Samsel has said in a Facebook post that “extreme stress, pressure and agitation” prompted his behavior, which he described as an “isolated episode of mania with psychotic features.”
Samsel claims he’s not sure how giving up his ability to teach will affect his criminal case, especially since the district’s superintendent pledged that he will never be hired again. He did state in an interview after the Facebook post, “I just hope this brings light to the mental health battles, that a lot of us are struggling.”
Regarding the series of incidents, he claims “there is no likelihood that it will happen again,” despite his defending of his actions for months after the initial complaints. Samsel has since limited who can see his Facebook posts and the post about bringing “light” to his struggles is not publicly available.
Samsel’s pledge to receive mental health treatment comes after a judge ordered him to undersee court-ordered evaluations in May.
Serving as a legislator since 2019, Samsel remains a member of the Kansas House Education Committee and also serves as a basketball and soccer official in the statewide youth sports association. He apparently remains a working official, making several social media posts in uniform as recently as June, among posts with several other youth at school sporting events.
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While working as a substitute at Wellsville, Samsel ranted against LGBTQ parents, claiming that he knew an unnamed sophomore at the school “who’s tried killing himself three times,” because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”
“He’s a foster kid. His alternatives in life were having no parents or foster care parents who are gay. How do you think I’m going to feel if he commits suicide? Awful,” Samsel lectured to students.
He then used the moment to try to force the students to commit to procreating.
“Make babies. Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it?” he implored. “Procreate…”
He asked some of the students about their masturbation habits.
“You haven’t masturbated? Don’t answer that question… God already knows,” he reportedly said.
He continued referencing suicide to a teens all day, even repeating some of the “lessons” for each group that came to his classroom with each different period. “I’m not going to lose one more of my kids to suicide. Are we clear?”
Footage reportedly showed that Samsel got into a back-and-forth with one student, facing off with the teen as they “paced around the classroom, talking back and forth.”
“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 proceeded to push the student. The student ran away and tried to find refuge on the opposite side of the classroom. “You should run and scream,” Samsel allegedly said.
The next video documenting the sequence of events reportedly showed the student on the floor, apparently right after Samsel used his knee to hit the student in the “crotch” area.
“Did it hurt?” Samsel asked the floored student. He then invited the class of students to join in. “Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls.”
The student begins grimacing and Samsel just tells him, “go to the nurse, she can check it for you.” It, being his private areas. That is, unless another student wanted to, Samsel offered. “Do you want to check his nuts for him, please?” Samsel asked another student.
In another video, Samsel appeared to grab another student from behind while “explaining” to him the “distractions from the devil.” He lifts the student up by his shirt and elevated him off the ground.
“You were not following — not my rules — God’s rules right now… you better take a Bible,” he told the student. “Keep denying God, keep denying God, see how it’s going to turn out.”
He then reportedly directed the student to go outside, with another student, and told them to run around the high school’s track field while holding hands.
Samsel was arrested the next day after the students and their parents made sworn complaints to police.
Remember the story of Mark Samsel, Kansas Republican lawmaker and teacher that ranted about God and assaulted a student, kicking him in the nuts?
These are the videos from kids in the classroom that day. *graphic content* pic.twitter.com/Bc1u0hgXtr
— 🇺🇸Sir Anthony, Lord of Sarcasm (🔥Hot Medic🚑) (@anthonycwalker) May 3, 2021
After spending the day harassing and assaulting students, Samsel expressed no regrets. He took to Snapchat, not only standing behind his actions, but confessing that they were premeditated.
“It was all planned,” he said. “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” was the “message” of allegedly assaulting a minor and harassing others intended for? “Parents, and grandparents, and all of Wellsville,” he said.
The mayhem was “exactly what God planned. The kids were in on it. Not all of them. But most,” he claimed at the time.
“Do you think we want to do this? No, we had a lesson to do. Is it kind of funny? Yeah. Are they ever going to learn? God only knows,” Samsel said of his treatment of the teenagers.
“I went to jail for battery,” he shared with his followers in a post after. “Does that really make me a criminal? Time will tell.”
Samsel, in his second term, has not resigned nor has he been reprimanded by his peers in the Republican-majority Kansas House. In fact, Republicans are praising him, with House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. (R) suggesting that Samsel’s order to seek mental treatment is an example for all Kansans.
“I’m pleased to see those services are being used and hope they will continue to be used by any Kansan feeling the weight that often comes with stress and anxiety,” he said in a statement.
He is the second elected official arrested in Kansas this year. State Sen. Gene Suellentrop (R) was arrested in March after driving while drunk and trying to evade police which led to a car chase.
He’s since resigned as the Majority Leader of the state Senate, and many, namely Samsel, wanted Suellentrop removed to set an example for those “most important” to the chamber.
“To me, it’s the kids,” Samsel said at the time.
Editor’s Note: Rep. Samsel responded to this article on Instagram, commenting in part, “your information isn’t true. I stood up for your community. I also did so with my votes in Topeka. I don’t expect you to believe me, because that’s not the world we live in, but some thinking critically will.”
Samsel did not clarify what information he claimed was not true or what exact “votes” he referred to, but in April he did vote against a ban on trans youth in sports, which passed but was vetoed by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. At the time, however, he said “I do NOT think we are necessarily discriminating” by passing the bill.
He received an endorsement from the Equality Kansas PAC in the 2020 primary election for being an “ally in writing,” although they lead their endorsement note by saying, “As a state representative, Mark Samsel’s voting record on LGBTQ issues has been disappointing.”