Mark Samsel to surrender teaching license, says classroom outburst came from "extreme stress"
Rep. Mark Samsel, R-Wellsville, voluntarily surrendered his substitute teaching license this week, the lawmaker wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday, with the move following an April incident where Samsel allegedly assaulted two students in the classroom.
Samsel has since pled not guilty in Franklin County District Court on three counts of misdemeanor battery against two teenage victims. In the social media post, he said he hoped the decision to give up his teaching license "helps bring peace and healing for all."
In the message, Samsel said he has been meeting with mental health professionals in recent months.
He attributed the outburst, in which videos show him ranting about about God, suicide and the devil, to "an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features, caused by extreme stress, pressure, and agitation over a sustained period of time," including the annual legislative session.
"There is no likelihood that it will happen again, especially as I have continued to study ways to handle stress," Samsel wrote.
Samsel confirmed that he had surrendered his license in a brief phone interview, although he declined comment on the case for the time being.
"If you can use it for good, please do," Samsel said of the post. "The world needs it."
The lawmaker was ordered by a Franklin County judge to undergo a mental health evaluation as part of his bond conditions. That process was completed ahead of a court hearing last month, although its contents are confidential.
The Wellsville School District previously barred Samsel for school grounds shortly after he was charged. A Kansas State Department of Education database shows his substitute teaching license expired in June.
One of the alleged victims told a Franklin County Sheriff's office detective that Samsel "kicked him in the testicles with his right foot" and he was grabbed "with both hands" and "shoved against the wall."
The student also showed the detective "road rash ... approximately the size of a golf ball" on his right shoulder, as well as a scratch on his left shoulder.
Another student said Samsel grabbed her by the shoulders, asking her if she "had mental problems" and making her feel "scared" and that she thought "Mark was going to hurt her."
Samsel denied the allegations in an interview with the detective.
"I would honest to God never do anything to hurt him," Samsel allegedly told police, saying he thought the student bruises "softly" and that "God works in mysterious ways."
Samsel is next due in court on Aug. 16. It is unclear if the move to surrender his teaching license is part of a larger plea deal.