Kansas Senate Speaker Ty Masterson on Sunday condemned Rep. Mark Samsel’s “deranged ranting”, filmed Wednesday speaking to high school students about religion, sex and suicide.
Samsel said on Sunday that he “had done nothing wrong” following his arrest last week on assault and battery allegations after students filmed his rant during class which included a physical altercation with a Student.
Samsel, a Wellsville Republican who taught at the town’s high school on Wednesday, said in a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday that he was “so sorry it caused pain and confusion.” In the post, he said the truth of the situation was indeed unknowable.
the Sunday, the hike skipped Samsel’s religious background and family history in Kansas to criticize the media, lamenting divorce rates, teen suicide and the sanctity of American society. He put the blame on those who criticized him, which one commentator condemned as “blaming the victim” and “going backwards”.
“What happened in Wellsville on Wednesday? Only God knows, ”wrote Samsel. “I have my version. You have yours. “
In videos taken by students and shared with The Star, Samsel, 36, talks about lesbians, suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible on Wednesday. He tells the students that they are allowed to kick a person “in the ball” and another video shows him standing over a student on the floor, asking, “Did that happen?” it hurts?”
Additional video sent to The Star also shows Samsel calling Masterson “the devil.”
“He called Senate Speaker Ty Masterson of Andover, Kansas. He is the devil in costume and smiling. And Christians follow him because they don’t realize he’s the devil, ”Samsel says in a video. “Is that funny? Yeah, excuse my tongue, f-king our state of Kansas right now and it causes kids to commit suicide and I have to attend their funeral knowing what’s going on. It’s no fun. . “
In a text message on Sunday, Samsel declined to speak to The Star, saying it was a well-deserved day of rest. He said he would talk to his lawyer and “see what she allows at this point”.
Masterson said he can’t remember ever having a conversation with Samsel.
“I have no response to what is clearly the deranged ranting of a troubled man,” Masterson said in a statement. “It’s obvious from the shocking videos that he shouldn’t be in a classroom or with kids.”
Samsel did not resign in his post on Sunday. The legislature will meet again on Monday for a wrap-up session likely devoted to attempts to overturn the vetoes by Governor Laura Kelly.
“We are primarily concerned about the safety of the students involved in this affair,” Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, a Republican from Olathe, said in a text message on Sunday. “The next step is to let law enforcement do their job. Once they got to the bottom of it, we put in place a process open to the public to deal with the conduct of any legislator. “
In the House, any Member can file a complaint against any other Member to initiate an investigation. If a complaint is made against Samsel, Ryckman is required to appoint a committee to look into the matter. The committee can recommend disciplinary action, including formal censorship or even expulsion from the House. A two-thirds vote of the House is required to expel a lawmaker.
Videos shared with The Star – by parents of students in the class – show Samsel lashing out over religion and the devil in a noisy classroom.
In one video, Samsel is recorded telling students off camera, “Make babies. Who likes to make babies? It feels good, doesn’t it? Procreate. … You haven’t masturbated? Do not answer this question. … God already knows.
A student’s face is shown in the video, and she added the text, “I literally hate this here. the mark is so disgusting.
Another video shows Samsel pushing a student after telling him, “You are about to make me angry and receive the wrath of God.” The student breaks free, then shouts running to the other side of the classroom.
In the days that followed, several Wellsville parents told The Star that they had been made uncomfortable by Samsel’s behavior towards their children in the past.
“I won’t allow my kids to be near him, and that’s a decision I made two years ago,” said Jessica Roberts, who has two children who attend school in Wellsville.
Roberts said she hadn’t seen anything as extreme as what was in the videos, but said that “Samsel’s behavior had been strange for a grown man for a very long time.”
“I feel like he’s a danger to children,” she said.
Regarding Wednesday’s incident, Samsel argued that his actions were planned and that at least some of the students were aware of what was going on. In a Snapchat post, he wrote that he tried to send a message about “art, mental health, teen suicide, the way we treat our educators and each other.”
“I deeply regret that my actions may have caused confusion or sadness in a handful of young people. But I only had one rule. They know what it was, and it was simple. If they broke the rule, I told them the truth, ”Samsel wrote on Facebook.
“Some of them lied. Deceive. Etc. But not the vast majority. And many of them who seemed to know, knew exactly what they were doing to serve a higher purpose. MENTAL HEALTH FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, and even for our not so young. I said it every hour, from the 1st to the 5th.
Joshua Zeck, whose child was in Samsel’s class last week, said the claim that his child and his friends were potentially involved in the incident “is absolutely false.”
“The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office clearly didn’t think it was organized or planned, nor did the administration or the school district, who told him he couldn’t be back to school,” he said. Zeck said. “If anyone has been involved in any aspect of this, they must provide corroborating evidence to support this claim. And anyway, quite inappropriate things were still being discussed, said and done that day.
The Sheriff’s Office and the Wellsville Police Department investigated the incident after it was reported by the school district. Samsel was arrested Thursday afternoon and released on $ 1,000 bail.
Wellsville Superintendent Ryan Bradbury said Samsel would no longer be allowed to work in the district.
In another video provided to The Star, Samsel talks about a college student trying to kill himself because his parents were two women.
In the videos, Samsel repeatedly refers to teenage suicide – a topic that has caught his attention for years. Last year, he championed the Mental Health Parity Act, which would have eliminated red tape that can slow access to mental health care.
A review of Samsel’s Facebook feed shows numerous articles referring to adolescent mental health and suicide since he was first elected to the Legislature in 2018.
In his Sunday post, Samsel introduced himself as working on teen suicide. Samsel, who works as a referee for the Kansas State High School Activities Association, also suggested his actions weren’t as bad as those of rude and unruly spectators at games.
“I’m doing my best and I’m very sorry for any pain or confusion this may cause to anyone. But I’m going to get my hands on the Bible now and swear I haven’t done anything wrong, ”Samsel wrote. “These kids are the LAST people on the planet where I would do anything to intentionally hurt. I’ve known most of them for years, some for over a decade. “
The post had received more than 280 responses Sunday afternoon. Most question Samsel’s tone, or criticize him for not taking responsibility, and apologize for his actions that a Facebook user said, “hurt kids who look up to you.” Please get help. “
Zeck and other relatives made Samsel apologize for his actions. Many are calling on him to resign.
“I’m disappointed with Mark’s response so far on social media. I was hoping we had an apology and maybe we could start healing that way, ”Zeck said. “But he obviously wanted to defend himself by other means. It is disappointing to see.