A Kansas state Representative is facing charges of misdemeanor battery stemming from a homophobic tirade that turned physical against a student while he was substitute teaching last week.
In multiple videos obtained by the Kansas City Star, state Rep. Mark Samsel is seen making homophobic comments amid rants about suicide, masturbation, God and “making babies” while substituting teaching at the Wellsville school district’s secondary school on April 28.
The homophobic comments came as part of an anecdote Samsel shared about “a sophomore who’s tried killing himself three times” because “he has two parents and they’re both female.” He added, “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.”
The misdemeanor battery charge originates from an encounter with one student in particular. The videos show Samsel turn his focus to one student in particular. The state lawmaker follows the student around the classroom, grabbing him and saying he was being hard on him. The student is shown running to the other side of the classroom after Samsel said “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?” and pushed the student. “You should run and scream,” he added.
Parents of students in the room allege that Samsel kneed the student in the groin after telling other students that they “have permission to kick him in the balls.” A video that allegedly depicts the moments directly after the assault shows the student on the ground with Samsel standing over him. “Did it hurt,” Samsel said. He asks the student why he’s crying, asks another student to “check his nuts for him” and apologizes before telling the student to “go to the nurse, she can check it for you.”
Samsel also appears to encourage the students to “procreate” in one video. “Make babies. Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it,” Samsel said, adding “You haven’t masturbated? Don’t answer that question … God already knows.”
Samsel’s actions drew the ire of parents and fellow Kansas politicians. “I’m a concerned parent who doesn’t want this swept under the rug,” Joshua Zeck told the Kansas City Star. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said Samsel “shouldn’t just be terminated from substituting. He should be blocked from being around kids,” on Twitter.
Samsel was arrested after an investigation on Thursday, but Samsel claims that the interaction “was all planned.”
“Every little bit of it. That’s right. The kids and I planned all of 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,” Samsel said in a Snapchat post. He said the incident was “exactly what God planned. The kids were in on it. Not all of them. But most.”
Superintendent Ryan Bradley stated that Samsel is not allowed to work for the school district in the future following last Wednesday’s events.