Watch: 'You Should Run and Scream.' Kansas State Rep Harasses Students, but Claims It Was Staged

Sunday May 2, 2021
Originally published on May 2, 2021

Rep. Mark Samsel and a student named Theresa in a YouTube Samsel posted.
Rep. Mark Samsel and a student named Theresa in a YouTube Samsel posted.  (Source:YouTube)

A Kansas Republican state rep "was arrested on charges of misdemeanor battery on Thursday after getting into a physical altercation with a student while substitute teaching" in a Kansas City suburb that he represents, reported the Kansas City Star.

On Wednesday Rep. Mark Samsel, 36, was substituting in a Wellsville's district secondary school. Over the day students recorded the lawmaker talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God, and the Bible, the Kansas City Star wrote.

"In one video shared with The Star, 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. He's a foster kid. His alternatives in life were having no parents or foster care parents who are gay,' Samsel tells students. 'How do you think I'm going to feel if he commits suicide? Awful.'

"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.' "

In the videos students and parents shared with the Star, Samsel focused on one male student. "Both Samsel and the student paced around the classroom, talking back and forth. Samsel is shown following the student around and grabbing him. In one video, he puts his arms around the student and says that he was being hard on him," wrote the Star.

Samsel is heard at one point telling the student, "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," the Star reports. " 'You should run and scream,' " Samsel told him.

Samsel also gave the other students permission to bully the male student. "Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls." The Star was told by parents that the state rep "put hands on the student" and allegedly kneed him in the crotch. In video footage from after the altercation, Samsel is heard to say to the student, "did it hurt?" And when the student started to cry, Samsel asked him why before apologizing and allowing him to see the school nurse. He then asked another student, "do you want to check his nuts for him, please?"

The Star added that Superintendent Ryan Bradbury said that Samsel will no longer be allowed to work for the district, and in a statement to the community Bradbury said that the situation is being investigated. "Student safety has and always will be our first priority," he said.

In a video posted to YouTube, Samsel defended his actions.

In the video, in which he is seen with a student named Theresa, Samsel said: "A few kids who were scared - I don't know if they were scared because they were surrounded by their friends in the comfort zone. We were in the art room. No one was ever in danger. Did we make it look like we were in anger or outrageous or hurting kids. Yeah we did. We made it look that way."

He added: "I didn't do anything wrong... I get way more messages or support that aren't blasting me because they know me... Did I like that it happened? Did I like that I used the F-bomb and took It too that extreme? No I did not."

He added on Snapchat that it some kind of improvised theater. "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 that he gave one particular student "hope."

But the Star added "The videos angered dozens of parents, who felt that their children were put in danger. Samsel works with students in several capacities, including as a referee and through church groups, parents said."

Responding to an inquiry by the Washington Post via text message, Samsel said it is "disgusting, and false to suggest that I would EVER do anything to hurt or make a kid uncomfortable." He dismissed the Star's reporting as "intentionally one-sided" and "99% hogwash," but did not elaborate on what he disputed.

"I went to jail for battery. Does that really make me a criminal? Time will tell."

He said that the incident happened during fifth period, and that the classes before that hour went as planned, and he shared the same lesson in each one. He said what happened was "exactly what God planned. The kids were in on it. Not all of them. But most."

Samsel is in his second term as a rep. The Star reported he made headlines in February when he was one of 13 lawmakers who voted against a bill that would have ended an exemption for spouses from the state's sexual battery law. In a speech, he questioned whether the government should intrude on marital relationships. "To me, it gets to what does the sanctity of marriage mean?" Samsel was quoted as saying, according to the Kansas Reflector. "And I'm single, so I'm not the best person to speak to this. But when you do get married, what does that mean? And what implied consent are you giving?"

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