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Oklahoma elementary school principal outed as drag performer resigns

State superintendent calls it a 'big win' for parents

iStock/monkeybusinessimages
iStock/monkeybusinessimages

An Oklahoma elementary school principal who was outed last year as a drag performer has resigned.

Shane Murnan was hired by Western Heights Public Schools (WHPS) in Oklahoma City last June to serve as principal of John Glenn Elementary School despite a district statement at the time publicly acknowledging Murnan’s past arrest record.

A screenshot of an undated image of former Oklahoma elementary school principal Shane Murnan in women's clothing and makeup.
A screenshot of an undated image of former Oklahoma elementary school principal Shane Murnan in women's clothing and makeup. | Screenshot/YouTube/KOCO 5 News

Following reports that Murnan was also a drag performer who goes by the name Shantel Mandalay, WHPS Superintendent Brayden Savage issued a statement on Aug. 30, 2023, saying that the district’s board of education “was given all the information that the district had regarding Dr. Murnan” at the time his employment recommendation was made on June 12, 2023. 

In a video shared Feb. 2 on X, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters confirmed Murnan was no longer with the district, calling the development a “big win” for Oklahomans.

 

“This individual shouldn't be in a school, you should not be working with young kids,” said Walters. “I heard it from parents all over the state, all over the country. This is not what parents want for their kids.”

The superintendent credited conservative influencer and Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik for “uncovering” Murnan’s extracurricular activities last fall, and said an investigation is ongoing. 

“We’re just now beginning our investigation into how these things happened and further ramifications for the school,” he said. “It will not be tolerated here in Oklahoma to have drag queens in the classroom. 

“We won't allow it from that individual but we will also ensure that those individuals that allowed it to happen will be held accountable.”

Last month, Walters named Raichik to the Oklahoma library media advisory committee, a move which stirred controversy among state officials. 

Prior to Raichik’s Aug. 30, 2023, tweet identifying Murnan as a drag performer, WHPS initially released a statement in June acknowledging they were “made aware of previous charges that were dismissed more than 20 years ago” involving Murnan but did not provide any additional details.

“Dr. Murnan has been serving the field of education for more than 25 years and has an outstanding reputation. He comes highly recommended from previous supervisors, colleagues, and educators,” the June 12 announcement from the district added.

In addition to a March 2023 investigative report which found Murnan was named “Miss Gay Oklahoma USofA Classic 2017” and other similar titles dating all the way back to 2004, a public records request submitted by The Christian Post also found Murnan applied for minister’s credentials in 2014 in connection with Universal Life Church. 

While the docket was closed in 2014, Murnan is listed as “minister” under the document’s parties.

In April, Murnan (under his drag name of Shantel Mandalay) shared an image on Facebook of a person dressed in an Easter bunny costume surrounded by children with the caption, “Life is about experiences and choices. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my lifetime and learned from them. I’ve also made some amazing decisions. One of those was becoming an educator.

"Having the opportunity to work with kids and encouraging them to do and be their best is so rewarding.”

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