One video allegedly shows Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel asking students about their sex lives.
Another reportedly shows the Republican lawmaker pushing someone against a wall while working as a substitute teacher and warning, “I could put the wrath of God on you right now.”
Yet another, reviewed by the Kansas City Star, allegedly captures the moments right after the legislator kneed a student in the crotch Wednesday.
Samsel stands over the boy and asks, “Did it hurt?” — then asks him why he’s about to cry and queries a classmate: “Do you want to check his nuts for him, please?”
“Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls,” Samsel says at one point on video.
Samsel, 36, was arrested Thursday on charges of misdemeanor battery after school officials in Wellsville, Kan., reported an unspecified “incident” between him and a student, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said.
As videos — some of which The Washington Post obtained — circulated and made the news, parents and community members expressed alarm and outrage that Samsel was working with young people and representing them in the state House.
“What the hell is going on with the #KSLeg this session?” tweeted Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas (D). “He shouldn’t just be terminated from substituting. He should be blocked from being around all kids.”
Heather Davis, whose son attends elementary school in Wellsville, said she’s “terrified to ask” her child if he has had contact with Samsel, though parents say Wednesday’s incident involved high school students in art class.
“I don’t find it acceptable at all,” she said of the behavior she saw on video.
Samsel insisted in a local TV interview that there was “no altercation,” even if one or two students may have “perceived it as one.”
The lawmaker, who has represented the 5th State House District since 2019, suggested to KSNT the whole thing was “planned.”
“Nobody was ever in danger,” he told the station. “Did we make it look like we were in anger, or outrageous or hurting kids? Yeah, we did.”
Samsel grew up in Wellsville and is a lawyer, according to his website.
He said he’s a “helper” around the school district, including its elementary school, and referees sports along with being a substitute teacher.
His website lists legislative priorities ranging from “our conservative Kansas values” to lower taxes to mental-health-related insurance coverage.
Samsel’s recent sponsored bills listed online include one to increase the criminal penalties for stalking a minor and one creating a Kansas youth advisory council.
Earlier this year, he was one of a small group to vote against a bill to end Kansas’s exclusion of spouses from sexual battery laws.
Samsel was quickly released on $1,000 bond after his arrest last week, officials said.
Wellsville Unified School District Superintendent Ryan Bradbury did not identify Samsel but said a student reported “an incident involving a substitute teacher to our staff” on Wednesday.
Bradbury said an “investigation began immediately” and the teacher “will not be returning.”