According to The Associated Press, Mark Samsel (R) surrendered the license on Tuesday, while later pinning the incident on “extreme” stress that led to “an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features.”
A Facebook post from Samsel said that over the past three months he had been visiting with mental health professionals. That same post said he’s studying how to handle stress so there’s “no likelihood” that he repeats his behavior.
Samsel is facing three misdemeanor criminal charges of battery after he was said to have had “rude, insulting or angry” run-ins with a pair of teenage students, one 15 and the other 16, during an art class he was subbing for on April 28.
As we previously wrote of the incident: “Republican Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel was arrested on Thursday in Wellsville, Kansas after allegations surfaced that he “put hands” on a male student and kneed him in the crotch (...) Footage that was apparently taken after the altercation shows the student on the ground with Samsel standing over him and asking, “Did it hurt?”
”The 36-year-old was subbing at a public school where he also went on religious tirades about suicide, masturbation, homosexuality, and more. In addition to misdemeanor battery, he has been prohibited from teaching in the Wellsville school district.”
As alluded to in that excerpt, video was shot by students that showed Samsel speaking about suicide, sex, and God in the art class. Samsel told a deputy taking a report of the incident that he “demonstrated a kick” for a student that had been disruptive, though he says he didn’t actually kick him. That deputy reported Samsel as saying that God instructed him to do it.
A mental health evaluation of Samsel, which remains under seal, was ordered by a judge in May.
Samsel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Each count could net a punishment of up to six months in jail.
His next hearing is scheduled for August 16. In a brief interview he said he’s unsure of how his mental health treatment or the surrendering of his teaching license will impact his legal issues.
The American Journal of Psychiatry says a manic episode with psychotic features happens when a person is “extremely high spirited or irritable” and has “experiences disorganized thinking, false beliefs, and/or hallucinations.”
Samsel has been serving in the state House since January 2019.