Samsel faces three misdemeanor criminal battery charges and has a court hearing scheduled for Aug. 16
A Kansas lawmaker has given up his state substitute teacher’s license after he was accused of kicking a student in the testicles.
Republican State Rep. Mark Samsel, 36, of Wellsville said on Wednesday that ‘extreme’ stress caused him to have ‘an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features’ in the classroom.
He also said that he was trying to make a point about mental health and the need for people to be kinder to one another in defense of his actions.
He has a court hearing scheduled for Aug. 16 and said during a brief interview that he does not know how the surrender of his teaching license or his mental health will affect the case.
He faces three misdemeanor criminal charges of battery following what the local prosecutor described as ‘rude, insulting or angry’ interactions with two students, ages 15 or 16, during an art class.
Samsel, who has served as an attorney in the House since 2019, pleaded not guilty to the charges, each of which was punishable by up to six months in jail.
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Kansas lawmaker Mark Samsel, 36, gave up his substitute teacher license on August 4 after he claims that ‘extreme stress’ led him to kick a student in the testicles
One student told a sheriff’s deputy that Samsel had manhandled him and kicked him, according to an affidavit from the deputy.
Samsel said in a Facebook post that he has seen mental health professionals over the past three months. He also wrote that he is studying ways to handle stress so that ‘there is no likelihood’ an episode will occur again.
He surrendered his teaching license on August 3.
The videos of Samsel’s actions were shot by students on April 28 and were then provided by a parent.
It shows Samsel talking about suicide, God and sex in a noisy classroom at Wellsville’s secondary school.
A series of videos recorded by students at Wellsville’s secondary school revealed Samsel giving lectures about God, suicide and sex on April 28
He had what was described by a local prosecutor as ‘rude, insulting, or angry interactions’ with two male students, aged 15 or 16, in an art class
Samsel was then booked into the Franklin County Adult Detention Center the day after the incident and was released on a $1,000 bond
In one video, the footage shows Samsel threatening a male student about ‘the wrath of God’ as he followed him around the classroom
He then tells the students in another video, ‘Class, you have permission to kick him in the b—s.’
Several parents told local media that Samsel allegedly kneed the student in the crotch.
The kneeing incident was not caught on camera, but footage shot after the alleged incident shows the student lying on the ground, with Samsel standing over him and asking: ‘Did it hurt?’
Samsel asks the student whether he was going cry, pats him on the shoulder and apologizes, and then says he can ‘go to the nurse, she can check it for you.’
He was booked into the Franklin County Adult Detention Center on April 29.
He was released on $1,000 bond, Sheriff Jeff Richards said.
Samsel was ordered by a judge in May to undergo a mental health evaluation after the incident occurred
According to the deputy’s affidavit, Samsel said he only ‘demonstrated a kick’ for one boy who had disrupted class but did not actually do it. The deputy also wrote that Samsel said God told him to do what he did.
‘It just felt it was the right time to share, that God was calling on me to do it,’ Samsel said during the interview, ‘I just hope this brings light to the mental health battles, that a lot of us are struggling.’
A judge in May ordered Samsel to undergo a mental health evaluation, and the resulting report remains under seal.
Samsel said in his Facebook post that he suffered from ‘extreme stress, pressure, and agitation over a sustained period of time,’ with the worst of it during April and May, when lawmakers were wrapping up their business for the year.
‘There was a lot of pain and struggle involved, but I think – I mean, it’s all moving in the right direction,’ Samsel said during his interview. ‘I do think God’s using it for hopefully higher purposes.’