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Kansas lawmaker arrested in alleged battery of high schooler says incident was 'planned'

Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel said the incident, which happened while he was substitute teaching at Wellsville High School, was not an "altercation."

A Kansas lawmaker who was arrested for allegedly battery of a high school student while substitute teaching said the encounter was "planned."

State Rep. Mark Samsel was booked on Thursday for misdemeanor battery involving a student, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Students began recording Samsel’s behavior on Wednesday while he was working as a substitute teacher in Wellsville, about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City.

Kansas State Rep. Mark Samsel, R-Wellsville.
Kansas State Rep. Mark Samsel, R-Wellsville.Kansas State Legislature

In videos and audio recordings of the incident reviewed by the Kansas City Star, he is heard talking to Wellsville High School students about suicide, religion, sex and masturbation.

Details about the incident that led to the arrest remain sparse “due to privacy laws,” the Wellsville Superintendent Ryan Bradbury said in a letter sent to parents on Thursday, adding the school is investigating what happened thoroughly.

Samsel “put hands” on a student, parents told The Star, and allegedly “kneed him in the crotch.” The Republican state representative then allegedly questioned the student for being on the verge of tears and suggested he go to the school nurse.

But after being released on a bond, the lawmaker is alleging the interaction was all planned.

“The kids and I planned ALL this to SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another. To who? Parents. And grandparents. And all of Wellsville,” he wrote on Snapchat, according to the Star.

In an interview with NBC Topeka affiliate KSNT, Samsel repeated this sentiment and questioned whether he even scared the students.

“Nobody was ever in danger,” he said. “Did we make it look like…we were hurting kids? Yeah we did.”

“Altercation is a strong word, there was no altercation,” he continued.

State GOP leaders released a statement last week saying they were aware of the incident involving Semsel, a Republican who represents Kansas House District 5, which includes Wellsville.

“We are not yet aware of the details, but are in process of gathering as much information as we can,” House Republican leadership said in the joint statement, according to KSNT.

Semsel said he thinks about resigning “every day.”

“Topeka sucks,” he told KSNT of the state capitol. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”