The Wellsville School District has barred Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel from school grounds after he was arrested on a battery charge for an incident that occurred when he was working as a substitute teacher at Wellsville High School.
Samsel on Saturday posted a letter on Facebook that he received from the district notifying him that he was prohibited from being at the school, on school property, or attending any school-sponsored events for one year.
The letter from Wellsville Superintendent Ryan Bradbury – dated May 11 – warned Samsel that law enforcement would be notified if he violated the order.
Bradbury said law enforcement would be called and the district would file a trespass complaint against him if he appeared on school grounds.
The Wellsville Police Department and the Franklin County Police Department were copied on the letter.
In a text message Sunday morning, Samsel said he is reviewing the letter and considering the legal implications.
Samsel, a lawyer, asked whether the letter applied to state events held by the the Kansas State High Schools Activities Association.
“The letter is vague and ambiguous. And oversteps,” Samsel wrote.
“Like are they trying to say I can’t even attend a KSHSAA state event if one single Wellsville kid qualifies? They need to retain a lawyer. Not just the high level stuff from KSAB. They are getting bad legal advice,” he texted.
The notice was sent to Samsel after he was arrested April 29 for the incident that occurred in a raucous arts class where he talked about suicide, pregnancy, masturbation, the Bible and God with the students as well as the politics of the Senate president.
Wellsville school officials and local law enforcement have declined to reveal the specific details that led to Samsel being charged with the misdemeanor offense.
The district’s decision to ban Samsel from school grounds is based on provisions of state law that give local school boards control of school property as well as rules governing the conduct of their schools.
Samsel said in an earlier interview that there was never an intent to do anything confrontational, saying it was part of a plan to show support for the students.
He called the class period a “set up” to confuse the “media and every other hater that’s out there.” He described it as “theater.”
“I plotted it with those kids because they needed my help and they needed their parents and grandparents to get a grip on reality,” he said.
Samsel said there was no truth to allegations that he kicked a student in the crotch.
“I did a foot motion that made it look like I was going to kick him in the balls,” he said.
“I don’t even think I touched the kid with my foot,” he said, adding that it was part of a “show.”
Samsel participated in the recent wrapup session of the Legisature where he voted on a number of overrides of Gov. Laura Kelly’s vetoes.
In a speech to the House during a debate on health insurance, Samsel told lawmakers that he was asked to leave a Pioneer League track meet “because one or two folks didn’t feel safe with me being there even though I didn’t approach a single kid.”
He later told The Kansas City Star that he was attending at track meet at Burlington High School and Middle School.
He told the newspaper he was “minding my own business away from the world, just watching the kid who invited me with his mom.”
“They still think I’m some creep living in Wellsville that’s going to do something to kids, which is disgusting. Absolutely disgusting,” Samsel told the newspaper.
Samsel’s first court date in Franklin County is set for May 19.