WELLSVILLE, KS (KCTV/AP) -- UPDATE: Kansas House Rep. Mark Samsel issued a lengthy statement on Sunday afternoon on the matter.
Full statement he made on his Facebook page:
I am truly sorry that this has caused confusion and pain, especially in my native hometown. But this is not about me. It never has been. If it were up to me, I'd be sitting on a beach in Australia or exploring the jungles in Africa. Maybe the beach in San Diego, or Portland or Madison remain on my bucket list of places to travel. Of course, I'm pretty blue collar, so Melvern Lake or a Royals game is more my style.
But my FAMILY has been in Kansas by choice and pro-life (iron-ic, huh?) since 1869. I'm not quite that old, but they must have some pretty good character and roots, because they voluntarily left amazing places like Indiana and Pennsylvania to come here, Kansas, a FREE STATE.Some of us attend church on Sunday, some of us don't. But WE are all God-fearing people. In fact, my family voluntarily donated land to establish a beautiful church here in the outskirts of nowhere/somewhere the world will never stop to visit. We prefer it that way, because we are busy farming, teaching, hunting, and attending or watching as many sporting events as possible, from youth to high school to college to professional sports on the world stage (c'mon World Cup, KC would love to host you with our unbeatable Midwestern hospitality).What happened in Wellsville on Wednesday? Only God knows.I have my version. You have yours. The kids, as we discussed in each hour BEFORE 5th hour and then also at the beginning of 5th hour before anything "newsworthy" occurred, each as theirs.So how do we find the Truth? It's probably not be listening to the yellers and the screamers, is it? Yet look how quickly they get headline news today.They come after everyone. Our educators, our law enforcement, our doctors and frontline workers, our judges and court personnel. They attack Christianity while calling for God to be removed from the classroom and cancelled or erased from American history and modern society.It's not going to work folks. Do you like how our world looks right now? Do you like the skyrocketing divorce rates and teenage suicide rates? Of course we don't. But how many of us pause to CHANGE our own actions? Any of you attended a #ZeroReasonsWhy meeting lately? You should. That group is amazing, and it's turning the tide on mental health.Any of you volunteered to substitute teach #ForTheKids? It's a financial sacrifice. Or ref middle school or high school sports to #CallItBothWays? Let me tell you, the pay is great. And if you think MY behavior in the classroom on Wednesday was inappropriate or even criminal, how about we compare it to YOUR behavior at any given PUBLIC SCHOOL (or private or home school) sporting event? Look how the world treats our children and our referees in those settings? I know, because I've reffed countless of them. And we are at wit's end. I literally had a grandma on the front row holding a baby in Gardner, Kansas last week (AAU tournament, shocking they couldn't find any refs who wanted to show up) calling me every 4-letter word in the book, and then some, because she was acting out of anger, hostility, and resentment. In those scenarios, we referees are frequently in fear for our safety. Yet THAT is American society that has become "normal." And the helpers and good guys keep showing up so the kids can play. Why? God only knows.I would suggest it's because we love the kids and we love the game so much that we tolerate more abuse than the average American and dare I say keyboard warrior or yeller or screamer or chicken can fathom. THE KIDS NEED US. Like Coach Martin said, the kids haven't changed. But boy has our society and parenting. And it's not good for our young people, folks.On Sundays, I attend church. I know where I am going. A church that actually makes sense and uses the Lord's Word in a positive manner. I am aware that not all churches necessarily operate that way. I can't change the world. And only Jesus can save. I am fine. I am saved. I am doing my absolute best to bring national attention to teenage mental health and prevention of suicide.Folks, I get messages from our young people about every day, maybe every-other-day, dealing with things I couldn't even imagine when I was a student at Wellsville myself. Anxiety, depression, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, etc. In our small towns, ONE suicide deeply hurts our entire community. NO MORE FOLKS. Step up. Do something. Check on our neighbors. Get off our phones and social media. God's country and His people are still incredible. He didn't create skin colors. Humans screwed that up. He didn't create hate. Yet look at what we do via social media every single day.As President Lincoln, our beautiful Nation -- founded on God while fully respecting and protecting freedom of religion -- will NEVER be brought down from the outside. Conservative or liberal, black or white, gay or straight, it makes no difference, folks. In moments of need, AMERICANS rally together to heed the call.Out of many, ONE. Yet as so many prior American leaders have warned, here we are on the brink of destroying ourselves from within. How many more wake-up signs do we need? Riots at the Capitol? Mass shootings? Pure evil and hatred?Dear God, enough is enough. I pray the NEW NORMAL is one based on love. And compassion. And patience. And yes, fearing God Almighty and doing our best to understand and follow His word. The Bible.The 10 Commandments. I pray that Kansas and America returns to a NEW NORMAL where the laws WE mere mortals write are consistent with the teachings of Jesus. And that we all do our best to respect one another. We follow and obey the manmade laws that sit well with our own morals and religious beliefs, and when not, we firmly yet gracefully protest publicly -- quietly at first, then loudly if necessary -- in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Justin Bieber figured it out. And Katy Perry. And Blake Shelton. And Patrick Mahomes. And what politician.....it's hard to find one isn't it, and yet we keep voting for these folks who do the same things over and over like SHEEP. For their special interests, political parties, and wealthy donors. Do we really wonder why America is hurting so badly right now? I don't. It's not rocket science.I would suggest Liz Cheney has it figured out. And yet look how she gets crucified. God bless her, her family, and all of Wyoming for sending her to Washington, DC to clean up a mess of perhaps unparalleled proportions. And yet how many of us have already moved on from the attack by the so-called "Patriots" on OUR Nation's Capitol? I cried that day. I pray to God every day that we UNITE as a country to fix it. Yet I don't see it. No, sadly, it looks like more business and life "as usual."Was Wednesday unorthodox? Absolutely. Did I intend to hurt a soul or act for a single moment out of rage, animosity, or any other element of battery? Absolutely not. I honest to God love all His children. That's what Jesus teaches. I'm not trying to sound preachy. But how else do you tell the truth and speak about the Bible? I don't know. I'm doing my best folks, and I am genuinely sorry for any pain or confusion this may cause anyone. But I will put my hand on the Bible right now and swear that I didn't do anything wrong. Those kids are the LAST people on the planet I would ever do anything to intentionally hurt. I've known most of them for years, some for over a decade.Now let's compare that to YOUR actions. I know several kids who care about me deeply and because of the nasty and false/misleading things written by the KC Star and others here on social media, THEY are hurting. That's not caused by me folks. Nope, that's you, keyboard warriors. I actually show up at their events. Or at least I used to. And I will again after this storm passes, because their parents and they want me there. They invite me there. Not all of them. But many, or most. I can't do anything about the haters. Nope, that's beyond me. But I do listen to T-Swift. I shake it off. Always will. God has me exactly where He NEEDS me. And that scares folks and confuses 'em. Some of them anyway.The truth will continue to unfold over the coming days. Remember that patience is a virtue. Notwithstanding the efforts of some to convict immediately -- some for caring but misguided motives, others for ill motives -- here in American we are innocent until proven guilty. For all those worried about me and my mental condition, please put your fears to rest. I am good. Better than ok, but not great. It seems that's about the best we can do in this world for anything more than a short period. For all the haters attacking me relentlessly, please stop. Your words are immaterial to me. You don't know me. You don't care to. That's fine. But your words are hurting the young people who are watching and paying attention. I deeply regret that my actions may have caused confusion or sadness among a handful of some young folks. But I only had ONE RULE. They know what is was, and it was simple. If they broke the rule, I told them the truth. Some of them did lie. Deceive. Etc. But not the vast majority. And many of them that appeared to, knew exactly what they were doing to serve a higher purpose. MENTAL HEALTH FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, and even our not-so-young. I said that every single hour, 1st-5th. I am beyond tired of attending funerals of our kids. I will scream that from about anywhere. If that upsets you, we probably don't have much to discuss, so perhaps your keyboard is the best place for you. But I would honestly suggest that here a lot more important uses of our time, both yours and mine.Please keep all the prayers coming for healing, for Teddy, for mental health reform, for criminal justice reform, for the right balance of God to be allowed in our public places and schools. Because it's not there right now folks. The proof is in the pudding.I'm off to church. Take care everyone. Let's Go Royals! clap, clap, clap clap clap.
A Kansas House member was arrested for possible misdemeanor battery in what authorities said Friday was an incident involving a student while he was substitute teaching at a public school in his hometown.
Republican Rep. Mark Samsel was booked Thursday into the local county jail and released on a $1,000 bond. His arrest came after a student reported an incident Wednesday at school in his hometown of Wellsville, a town of about 1,700 people some 55 miles (89 kilometers) southwest of Kansas City.
Samsel, 36, has yet to be formally charged with a crime but has a first appearance scheduled in district court for May 19 in Franklin County, said County Attorney Brandon Jones. Kansas law says battery is either causing bodily harm to another person or physical contact with someone else “done in a rude, insulting or angry manner,” and is punished by up to six months in jail.
Franklin County Sheriff Jeffrey Richards declined to discuss the details of the incident behind Samsel's arrest. Samsel did not answer a phone call — a message could not be left for him, and he did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
A parent of Wellsville students provided The Associated Press with videos she said were shot by students. One shows a noisy class, with Samsel grabbing a boy, pushing him against a wall and telling him, “I could put the wrath of God on you right now,” before the boy breaks free and runs away, yelling.
The parent, Jessica Roberts, a mother of four, said her son showed her the videos in a social media group chat and she posted on social media about Samsel, asking whether others were concerned about his behavior.
Roberts said in an interview that Samsel was in a position of authority and, “at no point is it appropriate to be off-the-wall with children.”
The Kansas City Star reported that it had seen videos recorded by students that showed Samsel talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible.
Roberts also shared a Snapchat post from Samsel saying the incident was “all planned," saying he wanted to “SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another.”
“To who? Parents,” he posted. “Very simple - EXACTLY what God planned. The kids were in on it.”
Richards said he didn't know about the Snapchat post and added, “There was nothing staged about our investigation — I can tell you that.”
Samsel also has been a referee for the association that oversees middle and high school sports in Kansas. He was first elected to the House in 2018 and reelected last year.
Wellsville school Superintendent Ryan Bradbury said without naming Samsel that the substitute teacher involved in the Wednesday incident is no longer working for the district.
The top three leaders of the Kansas House’s Republican majority said they were “gathering as much information as we can.”
Samsel is the third Kansas lawmaker to face legal problems this year.
Fellow Republicans ousted Sen. Gene Suellentrop of Wichita as Senate majority leader earlier this month after he was charged with drunken driving and a felony charge of attempting to elude law enforcement for driving the wrong way on a highway in Topeka.
And Democratic state Rep. Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, was warned by a House committee in writing about abusive behavior toward girls and young women before his election last year. He reached a legal agreement in January with the woman who managed his primary opponent's campaign to end an anti-stalking court order against him.