Oklahoma drag queen resigns as elementary school principal, prompting lamentations from local media: ‘Not illegal in any way’

News & Politics

Multiple local media outlets in Oklahoma did little to mask their frustration that an area drag queen has now resigned from his daytime job as an elementary school principal.

The story relates to Shane Murnan, a man in his early 50s who parades about the Oklahoma City area dressed as a drag queen named Shantel Mandalay. In 2018, “Ms. Shantel” even made an appearance at a virtual drag queen story hour sponsored by the Metropolitan Library System.

As Blaze Media previously reported, last June, the school board for Western Heights School District — a district in Oklahoma City that was recently controlled by the state on a temporary basis after years of mismanagement — voted to install Murnan as the principal of John Glenn Elementary School, citing his “outstanding” record as an educt.

Murnan’s position as a principal in charge of young school children soon drew the ire of anti-woke crusader Chaya Raichik, better known on social media as Libs of TikTok. Raichik not only took issue with Murnan’s extra-curricular activities as a drag queen, but about the fact that Murnan was arrested on a child pornography charge in 2001 when he was teaching fifth grade in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

At least one judge who reviewed the allegedly abusive images gleaned from Murnan’s electronic devices claimed they clearly “represent child pornography.” However, other judges argued that the age of the alleged victims could not be determined and tossed the charges. Murnan later served a short probation sentence for a marijuana charge and had his record expunged in October 2003.

The WHSD school board was very aware of the serious accusation against Murnan when its members voted to hire him last June. In a statement released on Facebook at the time, they hinted that Murnan posed no threat since the child porn charge against him was “dismissed more than 20 years ago.”

Not long after Libs of TikTok reported on Murnan’s background, Oklahoma Superintendent Ryan Walters slammed the decision to hire him and announced that his office would propose changes to the state Department of Education’s policies to include “community standards” as part of the teacher certification and district accreditation processes. He also hired Raichik to serve on the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Library Media Advisory Committee.

The pressure from Walters and Raichik seems to have had its desired effect. Last Thursday, Western Heights Superintendent Brayden Savage confirmed that Murnan had tendered his resignation at John Glenn Elementary. Though his resignation technically will not become official until a school board meeting next week, Murnan’s district email address is no longer in service.

John Glenn Elementary principal is leaving school after being called out for drag performanceswww.youtube.com

Savage called Murnan’s resignation “a terrible, tragic situation” and indicated that outraged parents may be partially to blame for it. After Murnan’s double life as a drag queen made national headlines, Murnan and the school district were inundated with security threats, she claimed. According to Savage, those threats forced Murnan to work off campus, and he was placed on paid administrative leave shortly before he resigned.

“When people question if [the situation] affects kids outside of the building, it affects everyone in the district in that way,” she said. “Funds being used [for this] could have been used in other ways.”

For his part, state Superintendent Walters celebrated the news about Murnan. “I demanded the school take action and fire a drag queen who not only engaged in the most inappropriate and sexually charged events imaginable, but he also used social media to recruit students,” he said in a statement. “Exposing Murnan and forcing the resignation is a necessary step to protect kids in Oklahoma. Our students will be protected from predatory behavior, and I have been crystal clear that I will not allow Oklahoma schools to become a training ground in drag queen propaganda.”

Education Department spokesman Dan Isett also slammed Savage’s claims about extra security costs as “absurd” and possibly “a slander.”

But in their reporting on his resignation, at least two local outlets positioned Murnan as a victim. The Oklahoman asked Walters whether he “felt responsible for the principal losing his job.” KOCO lamented that “Murnan has been under investigation by the State Department of Education for several months because he performs in drag.”

Another report from KOCO also described Murnan’s work as a drag queen as “something that is not illegal in any way, and something that does not impact whether an educator is able to be licensed in the state of Oklahoma.”

Both outlets attempted to reach Murnan for comment. Last fall, Murnan told NonDoc that he had received “lots of hate” for his drag queen persona. “I’ve been the same person for 26 years doing the same thing,” he claimed.

“It’s not like I’m quiet about it. I’m very open with who I am. I don’t hide who I am.”

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