Kansas Lawmaker Arrested For Assaulting Student After Long Day Of Yelling At Teens About God
Remember that documentary a while back, "What's The Matter With Kansas?" Well, it seems we may be due for a sequel.
Republican Kansas State Representative Mark Samsel was arrested this week after assaulting a student at the public high school in Wellsville where he was working as a substitute teacher. The assault reportedly involved Samsel taking the student by the shoulders and kneeing him in the testicles, after which he asked other students in the classroom if they, too, would like to kick him in the balls.
Does it get more messed up than that? Somehow it actually does. Several videos taken by students throughout the day show that instead of playing Heads Up, Seven Up like a normal substitute teacher, Samsel spent the day ranting hysterically about God, the Bible, teenage suicide, lesbian foster parents and "the Devil's music."
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."
Videos shared with The Star — by parents of students in the class — show Samsel focusing most of his attention 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.
At one point, Samsel tells 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.
It was after that incident that Samsel grabbed the student and kneed him in the balls.
He is also shown in a video instructing the student and one of his classmates to go outside, hold hands and run around the track, seemingly as punishment.
"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," he says while watching the two students run outside.'
Videos show Samsel's classroom in chaos as he talks about the devil, God and how the Bible was edited.
"Are you doing the Lord's work as you're listening to the devil's music?" he asks a student.
And he continually references suicide, and tells the class, "I'm not going to lose one more of my kids to suicide. Are we clear?"
Samsel's story here was that it was actually a staged incident and that most of the students were in on it. Here he is explaining that in a manner almost as confusing as his rants about Jesus.
Kansas lawmaker says high school battery incident was stagedwww.youtube.com
A few kids that were scared and probably didn't — I don't even know that they were scared, 'cause they were surrounded by their friends, and the comfort zone, we were in the art room, nobody 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. It would not have been outrageous if I hadn't dropped the F-bomb ...
I'm going to stop him right here and say that "dropping the f-bomb" was not the most outrageous thing about this incident.
... If I didn't say "I'm gonna bring the wrath of God on Theresa," nobody cares, everyone keeps their head down and keep on going.
Again, everyone keeping their heads down seems preferable to kneeing a student in the balls.
Altercation's a strong word, there was no altercation. I'm sure there's some, one or two students that probably perceived it as one, but it was exactly as we planned it! [...]
Do I like that it happened? No. Do I like that I used the F-bomb or had to take it to that extreme or? No. I absolutely do not.
Even if that were true that it was staged, which it obviously is not, yelling about God or claiming that gay foster parents were the cause of a teen's suicide attempt is not a thing you are actually allowed to do while teaching in a public school. Also to what end were they meant to be "staging" this? What was it he thought was happening here? And why did he have to take it to any extreme?
The Kansas City Star also reports that Samsel recorded a Snapchat in which he tried to explain that he and the kids planned the whole thing to send a message. An incredibly unclear, violent and first-amendment-violating message.
"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."
About what? If one is going to "send a message" one should figure out what that message is before kneeing someone in balls about it.
"I went to jail for battery. Does that really make me a criminal? Time will tell."
Yes, it literally does make you a criminal. A criminal is someone who commits a crime, and battery is a crime, and so therefore, someone who commits battery is a criminal. Of course, Samsel seems to be confused about the concept of battery as a crime in general, having been one of 13 Republicans to vote against ending an exemption for spouses in the state's sexual battery law — and then justified it by saying that getting married means giving "implied consent." To being battered.
This is not a man who should be around children. Hell, he probably shouldn't be around adults or any other living things. He is, however, a man that people in Wellsville, Kansas voted for to represent them and their interests in the state legislature, which suggests that we may never get a satisfactory answer to the question of what the hell is wrong with whoever thought that was a good idea.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse