Teaching in Kansas sure must be different

The pedagogical methods of Mark Samsel wouldn’t fly here. In fact, they weren’t even successful in Kansas.

Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel was arrested on charges of misdemeanor battery on Thursday after getting into a physical altercation with a student while substitute teaching in Wellsville.

Samsel, 36, was booked into the Franklin County Adult Detention Center after 3:30 p.m. Thursday. He has since been released on $1,000 bond, Sheriff Jeff Richards said.

Superintendent Ryan Bradbury said that Samsel will no longer be allowed to work for the district.

Yeah, he’s a Republican state representative, and he works as a substitute teacher. He’s screwing over the citizens of the state in two ways!

I can’t quite figure out what courses he was supposed to be teaching. It sounds like he thought he was in Sunday school, and was wandering about moralizing and wagging his finger at everyone and giving incoherent advice.

On Wednesday, Samsel, R-Wellsville, was substitute teaching at the Wellsville school district’s secondary school. Throughout the day, high school students began recording videos of the lawmaker talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible.

In one video shared with The Star, Samsel tells students about “a sophomore who’s tried killing himself three times,” adding that it was because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”

“He’s a foster kid. His alternatives in life were having no parents or foster care parents who are gay,” Samsel tells students. “How do you think I’m going to feel if he commits suicide? Awful.”

In another video, Samsel is recorded telling students, “make babies. Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it? Procreate … You haven’t masturbated? Don’t answer that question….God already knows.”

He seems to have been harassing one student in particular.

At one point, Samsel tells the student, “You’re about ready to anger me and get the wrath of God. Do you believe me when I tell you that God has been speaking to me?” He then pushes him, and the student runs to the other side of the classroom.

“You should run and scream.”

In another video, he tells students, “Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls.”

Parents told The Star that Samsel “put hands on the student” and allegedly kneed him in the crotch. In a video apparently taken immediately after the incident, the student is shown on the ground. Samsel is standing over him and says, “did it hurt?”

He then asks him why he is about to start crying, pats him on the shoulder and apologizes, and then says he can “go to the nurse, she can check it for you.”

Samsel addresses another student and says, “do you want to check his nuts for him, please?”

Now he’s out, and he’s claiming that he meant to do that. He was “sending a message”.

In a Snapchat post shared with The Star, Samsel wrote that “it was all planned.”

“Every little bit of it. That’s right. 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 posted.

He wrote that he gave one particular student “hope.”

“I went to jail for battery. Does that really make me a criminal? Time will tell.”

He said that the incident happened during fifth period, and that the classes before that hour went as planned, and he shared the same lesson in each one. He said what happened was “exactly what God planned. The kids were in on it. Not all of them. But most.”

I have no idea what message he was sending. I do know that kicking your students in the crotch does make you a criminal, and I don’t believe for a moment that he was implementing a god’s plan. He was just an incompetent jerk who ought not to be allowed anywhere near a school. Or a statehouse.

Videos here. His classroom seems to have been nothing but self-indulgent chaos and Christian abuse. At least he has “apologized”. Sort of.


  1. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Just another reminder that, when they call big city liberals “arrogant”, they don’t mean it.

  2. vucodlak says

    misdemeanor battery

    This part really pisses me off. The whole thing is despicable, but this is the bit that shows how rotten the whole system is.

    If you get into a drunken argument over sports teams in a bar and knee some other drunken adult in the crotch, then okay, that can be a misdemeanor battery, provided no serious or permanent injury results.

    If you berate, verbally and physically abuse children in your classroom, then knee one of them in the groin, that shit needs to be a felony. I say this as someone who largely favors doing away with prisons- if you assault and batter a child then your ass belongs in prison. Especially if you’re a teacher.

    “Did it hurt?” Someone oughtta take a pipe to the fucker’s knee and ask him that.

  3. raven says

    Kansas loon

    I went to jail for battery. Does that really make me a criminal? Time will tell.

    Yes, it does make you a criminal. Normal people don’t attack other people and end up in a jail cell.
    No time won’t tell. The judge will tell you unless your lawyer does and negotiates a plea bargain.
    Pro tip. If you find yourself in a jail cell, this is not a good sign.
    You have probably done something wrong.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    I am not a mental health professional, but this guy can not be “stable”. The thoughts that buzz around in his head are going to lead to something even worse, if he is not constrained by society.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Somebody please explain to me again why Dorothy wanted to go back?

  6. Tethys says

    I’m glad he won’t be subbing at that school district, but Im hoping for the sake of the children that he also loses his (presumed) teaching license and his elected office due to this violent assault.

  7. gijoel says

    “I went to jail for battery. Does that really make me a criminal? Time will tell.”

    Going to jail after being convicted of an offense is pretty much the definition of criminal.

  8. numerobis says

    gijoel: he hasn’t been convicted yet, so he’s right that “time will tell” about any criminality.

    He’s an asshole regardless of his legal status.

  9. nomdeplume says

    PZ – this bot or bots are making the comment threads here unpleasant and unreadable – as is obviously the intention. Is there no permanent defence against this moron?

  10. says

    Just so you know: comment numbers will not be a good way to reference a prior comment. I’m going to be bulk deleting anything from this rather persistent troll.

  11. says

    If anyone is motivated, all of his comments are coming from this source:

    remarks: M247 – Network Management Centre
    address: 1 Ball Green, Cobra Court
    address: M32 0QT, Manchester – United Kingdom
    tech-c: JB3482-RIPE
    tech-c: CB2407-RIPE
    nic-hdl: GBXS-RIPE
    abuse-mailbox: abuse@m247.ro
    mnt-by: GLOBALAXS-MNT
    created: 2006-07-13T15:37:05Z
    last-modified: 2018-09-10T17:32:45Z
    source: RIPE # Filtered

    He’s definitely abusing the service, anyway.

  12. brightmoon says

    What was on this jerk’s mind ?!?! Is he THAT stupid !?!?! Even in the 50s that kind of abuse of a child was a no-no . You could spank them or hit their hands (and that was bad enough)

  13. says

    “M247 products are developed with business growth in mind, whatever your requirements we have the technology to help you transform…” …wordpress comment sections into bathroom walls.

  14. gijoel says

    @numerobis I read that as to him admitting that he had a prior conviction for assault. My bad if it wasn’t.

  15. Owlmirror says

    @PZ: As I posted on the other thread:

    Rather than blocking or banning or moderating an IP range, I’d suggest using the same model as other blogs: first post to the blog from anywhere goes into moderation, and only after that post is allowed through will the account stop being moderated. I would no longer trust IP addresses that any given persons post’s from to stay constant to a particular locale, or even country.

    Assuming the troll posts something seemingly innocuous at first to get through moderation, you can choose to allow through comments when you’re going to be online for a while, and spot bad behavior right when it happens.

  16. says

    Yeah, I’m considering it. I just hate to change commenting policy because of the actions of one howling asshole.

  17. John Morales says

    PZ, there are still a bunch of droppings under the nym “fatwaguy”.

  18. Owlmirror says

    I don’t know if it’s possible, but I had the idea of bulk changing the varying displayed nyms for all these troll comments to “Some Asshole”.

    And maybe the userpic to a bucket of chum.

  19. says

    owlmirror- Seems they’re a internet service business, nothing shady or wild at first blush. But I noticed the .ro and that’s kinda weird. Feels like, “Think somebody is abusing our service in Manchester? E-mail Romania for all we care.”

  20. PaulBC says

    @30 Well, I am sure you can get high quality, responsive IT based in Romania. Whether they are or not, who knows.

  21. Rob Grigjanis says

    Owlmirror @25: Ball Green is a street, and Cobra Court a business park, in Manchester.

  22. raven says

    The other thing PZ and Freethoughblogs could do, is upgrade their software to have a blocking function or ignore function.
    These are quite common.
    Then we could all block the troll and let him babble with no one even seeing his mindless drivel.

    Patheos has a Block This User icon/feature.
    I use it occasionally.
    Some high traffic blogs aren’t readable without it.

    In fact, the only website I look at that doesn’t have an ignore feature is FTB’s.
    I do realize that this might be difficult.
    It is not like PZ has large amounts of free time and upgrading an entire forum could be a lot of work.

  23. leerudolph says

    brightmoon, in a comment with number not yet stablized: “Even in the 50s that kind of abuse of a child was a no-no . You could spank them or hit their hands (and that was bad enough).”

    In the Cleveland OH public school system, circa 1956, my 3rd grade teacher (the wife of the pastor of some nearby Protestant church or other; ethnically German, like much of the neighborhood) ran up to me from behind to slap me (hard) across the mouth. In the early and mid 1960s, male assistant principals at both my junior high school (grades 7-9) and high school had wooden paddles with which they would discipline the boy students by beating us, not “spank”ing us, on our buttocks. At the high school, that physical torture was (at least once, for me) administered using a long, heavy paddle with holes drilled through it, in order (we were told) to reduce air resistance and increase the force of impact; that particular administrator added preliminary psychic torture—he swished the paddle through the air but stopped just before making contact, while forcing me to maintain the stress position (hands grasping ankles) and describing the possible adverse consequences of failing to maintain it (“one boy didn’t, and got a fractured tail-bone”).

    I mentioned Mrs. Weist’s ethnicity because I was already familiar with my own German family’s (on my father’s side, and half my mother’s too) cultural tradition of child abuse; what Katharina Rutschky calls Schwarze Pädagogik.

    You (or the source of your information, if it was not you who were “merely” abused by spanking and hand-hitting) were in slightly more enlightened schools in the 1950s (and 1960s), apparently. I’m glad of that.

  24. William George says

    This is anecdotal but I’ve had the dubious pleasure of knowing a few self-confessed trolls here in East Asia.

    All of them were men, MRAs, abused by their parents, and all of them firmly believed they were doing good and the people they attacked were just getting justice. They were the heroes in their minds.

    I have no idea which of these, if any, apply to this month’s pest. But I’d like to see more research into this sort of mental state.

  25. DLC says

    There is a persistent movement within Christianity that believes in and practices the beating of children, beginning with a slap on the leg for a child in diapers to the use of various torture forms for older children. I won’t give them any oxygen by linking to their page(s), but it’s real enough. The fundamental idea being to beat your children into submission — to turn them into lifeless automatons who comply with the parents’ wishes out of fear.

  26. John Morales says

    DLC, King James Bible Proverbs 13:24

    “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

    (New Living Translation

    “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”)

  27. DLC says

    John Morales : I know it. my father spared not the rod, and he raised up an angry, violent youth. I grew out of it, despite my Christianity, which I also grew out of.

  28. John Morales says

    DLC, me too.

    “This will hurt me more than it hurts you”, they say.

  29. says

    leerudolph – I was going to say something to brightmoon myself. By the time I was a child, that sort of abuse would definitely have resulted in jail for a teacher. But my dad in the 50s was punched by a teacher enough to bounce his cranium on a brick wall and wander off in a fugue for the rest of the day. I think this was in Visalia, California.

  30. mnb0 says

    “He was “sending a message””
    Give it to him, he totally succeeded: beware of those who claim that “God has been speaking to me?” or that pseudophilosopical variation called Divine Command Theory.

  31. raven says

    This is anecdotal but I’ve had the dubious pleasure of knowing a few self-confessed trolls here in East Asia.

    I’ve seen a few notorious trolls outed due to police activity.
    Three ended up with criminal convictions.
    One was killed in a shootout with the police during an inept robbery of a jewelry store.
    Most of us know about another persistent FTB troll in Canada whose name is not typed and what happened to him.

    The lesson is that they are all mentally fogged up to a great extent.
    The other lesson is that what you see is what you get.
    These people aren’t hiding anything. They are just smearing what passes for the contents of their brains on other people’s computer screens.

  32. birgerjohansson says

    Maybe I have too much faith in technology, but the musings of trolls are so predictable it should be possible to train an AI to screen postings -and I do not simply mean catchwords but comment structure and other details.

    Flagged entries automatically go to the administrator for vetting before they can be posted in the thread. It denies the troll the satisfaction to ever see his (It is usually a he) comment in the thread.

  33. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @6:
    to lighten the mood , I’ll answer your satiric question about Dorothy wanting to return to Kansas.
    Yes, it was fiction, about a Kansas which was literally middle of nowhere, on a farm, with a close-knit family and friendly employees maintaining the farm. So idealistic, that Baum had to use magic to make a place more idealistic than the ideal home, which had a few, very few, “issues”, like tornadoes and a nasty school teacher.
    I write this to note the irony of the place that has been long held as the very center of America (emotionally, along with holding the geodetic center) keeps showing us it is essentially the worst of us.

  34. brucegee1962 says

    Note that, in later books, Dorothy arranged to have Uncle Henry and Aunt Em transported to Oz and put up in a very nice house in the Emerald City while she hung out with her trans gf Ozma in the palace. So even Baum knew perfectly well that running a Kansas farm was not a winning long-term strategy.

  35. brucegee1962 says

    “Getting sent to the principal for a paddling” was still a terrifying threat at my elementary school in small-town Ohio in the early 70s.
    Interesting side-note — the town was mostly Italians and Poles. The school principal who administered the paddlings was the only Black man I knew in the town. As far as I know, though, none of the parents ever raised a fuss about his race, and he was a respected member of the community. It was just what was expected for someone with his job. I respected him too.

  36. davidc1 says

    Forgot what i did ,but back in the early 70’s the PE teacher made me go change back into my school uniform and come back ,then told me to go and change back in to my kit .Can’t remember how many times the bastard made me do it .
    I often wish i had turned on all the showers ,bunged up the drain holes and fucked off home .
    I have never taken any interest in any sport ever since ,not that i did before .

  37. MadHatter says

    So…it’s Texas and all but I well recall my desperate fear of being sent to the principal’s office to be paddled in the early 80’s. I was in kindergarten at the time, but if you got three marks on the blackboard you’d get sent to his office. I did not know until later that my mother forbade them from touching me, I just remember being really worried about it. I also well remember the only black child in our class being sent to him often as he’d come back crying. We were 5.

    Later in a primary school in Colorado we had an ex-Marine as our PE teacher who hit a girl, made one boy run laps until he threw up, and was terrifying to all of us. I heard he got prosecuted eventually.

    I recall many more incidents into high school in the 90s too. Maybe it wasn’t legal anymore to physically abuse the student, but plenty of it happened anyhow. None of the teachers who I knew of abusing students ever got in trouble for it. Most taught until they retired. Sometimes they’d be asked to leave a school quietly…and then get a job at another school.

    Kansas ain’t special. This Rep sounds unhinged like all repubs these days, and I hope he gets convicted.