The Western Heights School District (WHSD) in Oklahoma finds itself embroiled in controversy following the hiring of Shane Murnan as the principal of John Glenn Elementary School. The backlash stems from Murnan’s history of child pornography charges over two decades ago, although he was never convicted as prosecutors failed to prove that the images involved minors.
Murnan’s appointment in June raised eyebrows after reports resurfaced, highlighting his previous encounter with the law. In 2002, he was charged with possession of child pornography, a case that was later dismissed by a Payne County judge due to insufficient evidence. The charges were subsequently expunged from Murnan’s record, allowing him to continue his career in education for 25 years.
However, his recent hiring ignited outrage, and calls for his dismissal have intensified in recent weeks. Parents and critics are demanding answers from the John Glenn Elementary School, with many expressing concerns about Murnan’s past.
Meet Shane Murnan- elementary principal at @wh_isd.
Shane is a drag queen who performs for children and reads books about gender to kids while dressed in drag.
Shane was also previously arrested on child porn charges.
Would you want this person in charge of your kid’s school? pic.twitter.com/yNuZyt3HRK
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) August 30, 2023
Shane Murnan, a Noble, Oklahoma native, holds an undergraduate and Master’s degree in Education Administration from Oklahoma State University. He further obtained a Doctorate in Education from the University of Phoenix and has devoted more than two decades to the field of education. Reports even indicate that he applied to become a church minister in 2014.
Despite the controversy, WHSD officials, including Superintendent Brayden Savage, have defended Murnan’s position as principal, citing his exemplary record as an educator. In a statement to Newsweek, Savage said:
“According to news reports at the time, those charges were dismissed by the court, and the record of the charges has been expunged. Since that time, Dr. Murnan has continued to be certified as an elementary school teacher and principal, including having his certificate renewed in April of 2023 and signed by State Superintendent Ryan Walters.”
The principal of John Glenn Elementary School, Shane Murnan, is a drag queen who goes by the name “Shantel Mandalay.” Murnan called “Shantel Mandalay.” According to the page, Murnan was employed as a drag queen at a venue called “The Boom.”
— Alec Gormley (@AjgormAlec) September 8, 2023
However, State Superintendent Ryan Walters expressed concerns raised by parents and other state officials regarding the situation. He emphasized the importance of safeguarding children from exposure to inappropriate content and pledged to take action if necessary:
“Anything that might expose kids to inappropriate s*xual content at school is cause for serious concern to parents and is absolutely contrary to Oklahoma values. I will not allow rogue educators to endanger our kids.”
Meet Miss Shantel Mandalay, a drag queen elementary school principal up in Oklahoma. The drag principal was charged with possessing child porn, but Miss Mandalay beat the charge. When it was brought to the school’s attention, the district said the drag principal has an… pic.twitter.com/UHJX8NVHBt
— Jesse Watters (@JesseBWatters) September 9, 2023
Walters added that they are currently investigating charges related to Shane Murnan’s past and assured parents that appropriate action would be taken based on the outcome of their findings. The controversy surrounding Murnan’s hiring continues to generate debate within the community and beyond.