Kansas House member ordered not to set foot on Wellsville school property for one year

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TOPEKA — The Wellsville Board of Education ordered Rep. Mark Samsel to serve a one-year ban on entering school property or attending district events in response to his strange and allegedly violent conduct while working last month as a substitute teacher.

Superintendent Ryan Bradbury warned the Wellsville Republican that if found on school property or at a school event of any kind through May 11, 2022, that law enforcement would be called and the district would file a trespass complaint against him.

Samsel, who was arrested for battery after allegedly kicking a Wellsville secondary school student, has represented District 5 in the House since 2019. It serves parts of Franklin, Anderson, Linn and Miami counties. He’s an attorney and has worked as a basketball referee and soccer official in the state association serving middle schools and high schools. He frequently attends area school sports events.

“This looks like discrimination to me,” Samsel said on a social media post accompanying a copy of the letter notifying him of the penalty. “Fortunately, I know a good lawyer.”

Bradbury said in the letter the school board leaned on state statute granting it authority to control access to school property.

Samsel, 36, was arrested April 29 after reports surfaced he had a physical altercation with a student. He had been escorted off school property a day earlier after delivering classroom rants on the subjects of sex and masturbation as well as teen suicide. He also referenced the Bible and warned he was on the verge of invoking the wrath of God.

“Do you believe me when I tell you that God has been speaking to me?” he asked students.

Samsel’s commentary and interaction with students was documented on video and audio recordings shared on social media.

He has since asserted events at the Wellsville school were staged and nobody was in danger. He blamed “keyboard warriors” and “haters” for the controversy. He said some people were scared and confused because “God has me exactly where He needs me.”

Samsel is scheduled to appear May 19 in Franklin County District Court regarding the misdemeanor battery case.

Despite being referred to as “deranged” by the Kansas Senate president, Kansas House Republicans welcomed him back to Topeka after the arrest to help deliver GOP votes necessary to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on a series of vetoed bills.

Samsel graduated from the University of Kansas’ law school in 2010 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Valley College in 2007. After the arrest, Samsel complied with a request from officials at the Marshall, Missouri, college that he resign from the board of trustees.

Samsel’s campaign website includes pictures of him posing with students as well as political and higher education officials.

“We need people we can trust to tell the truth, ask the tough questions and most importantly, do the right thing, especially when it’s not convenient or popular,” Samsel vowed on the website. “Kansas needs leaders with conservative roots planted firmly in our family farms and rural communities, with the backbone and work ethic of our farmers.

“This moment calls for no-nonsense, solutions-based leaders who will put our district first. Together, we have fought hard to stand up for what’s best for our families and communities,” he said.

In November 2018, Samsel was elected to the Kansas House by a margin of 72% to 27%. He widened the gap in November 2020, winning re-election with a spread of 77% to 22%. His current term would expire in January 2023.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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