Oklahoma School District Hires Drag Queen ES Principal with Previous Child Porn Arrest
August 29, 2023
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Dr. Shane Brent Murnan is the newest elementary school principal within Oklahoma’s Western Heights public school district. Murnan, a 52-year-old man whose drag persona is very publicly known as Ms. Shantel Mandalay, now has total authority over more than 400 students from pre-K through fourth grade at John Glenn Elementary School in southwest Oklahoma City.
Murnan, depicted below with Western Heights PS superintendent Brayden Savage, is thrilled to have a “new district and new respect”.
Teacher Murnan was Previously Arrested for Possessing Child Pornography
In August of 2001, Murnan, then a 30-year-old, fifth-grade teacher at Will Rogers Elementary School in Stillwater, Oklahoma, was arrested for possessing both child pornography and drugs. Two weeks prior to his arrest, Murnan’s electronic devices were confiscated by police. Despite the teacher’s efforts to delete images, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) was able to recover at least four images of children engaged in sex acts.
From there, some unexplainable legal wrangling began in which Payne County Special Judge Phillip Corley ruled that prosecutors had not proven Murnan had possessed child pornography, claiming it could not be definitively proven the children in the photos were underage. Payne County prosecutors appealed Corley’s decision and temporarily prevailed. Payne County Appeals Court Judge Dave Allen, in his ruling, stated, “It is clear from a review of the pictures that they do represent child pornography”.
Next, Payne County District Judge Donald L. Worthington reversed the reversal, dismissing the child porn charge. Payne County prosecutors gave up, choosing not to appeal. In the end, it appears there was never any disagreement about the existence of the pornographic photos on Murnan’s computer, yet the charge was dropped. Was this a behind-the-scenes plea agreement to allow Murnan to accept only the drug charge (marijuana) and retain his teaching certificate?
After a short probation period on the drug charge, Murnan’s record was expunged in October of 2003. He used 2004, 2005 and 2006 to launch his Shantel Mandalay persona into the world of crossdressing pageants, such as Miss Gay Oklahoma, before heading right back to the classroom.
Despite Child Porn Charge, Murnan Continued Teaching in Underprivileged Schools
From 2007-2015, Murnan was a classroom teacher at Little Axe Elementary School, a site of approximately 550 students within a small, rural district in central Oklahoma serving primarily economically disadvantaged children. From there, Muran moved to the much larger (approx. 32,000 enrolled), more urban, increasingly progressive and failing Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) district as teacher, teacher trainer/instructional coach, and eventually assistant principal at Prairie Queen Elementary School. Prairie Queen is an underperforming school that serves a population that is 82.3% Hispanic and 96.5% economically disadvantaged. Most parents speak limited English and 69% of students are English language learners. These are vulnerable kids.
In late 2020, during Murnan’s time at Prairie Queen ES, the state entered a new Criminal Probable Cause Initial Filing with Murnan as the defendant. It is unknown at this time what crime is or was being investigated but the case was assigned to Judge Kevin C. McCray.
And now Murnan is the man in charge of John Glenn ES in the Western Heights district (southwest part of the OKC metro area). The district of approximately 2,750 students has been in turmoil since 2021 when the state temporarily took over due to years of financial mismanagement and noncompliance. To simplify, the district gets a lot of funds, spends significantly more than the state average and continues to fail children.
Murnan’s John Glenn ES student population is also majority Hispanic, English language learners and overwhelmingly economically disadvantaged.
Murnan Founded and Operates Organization to Promote Drag Queen Story Hours
In 2018, Murnan and two others formed and founded Oklahoma City Drag Queen Story Hour, Inc. to promote events throughout the state. By the time the lockdowns started, the organization was teamed with the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library System, and Murnan, in drag, was reading age-targeted indoctrination to small children online through the library’s Facebook events (link to video).
With quotes like “You just look one way on the outside and feel another way on the inside, and that’s okay”, and themes like the worried child who has two dads with a Mother’s Day party approaching at school, residents should question whether tax dollars should still be going to their public libraries.
Beyond Oklahoma City Drag Queen Story Hour, Inc., other business registrations associated with Murnan include Mandalay Holdings LLC, S.B.M. Enterprises LLC, and a trademark filing for something called Brief Invasion.
Murnan Regularly and Publicly Links His Role as Educator with Shantel Mandalay
Within both social media and related to his adult performances outside of school, Murnan makes regular connections between his drag persona Mandalay and role as a public school educator. Around Easter, he publicly posted the following on his drag queen’s Facebook page about his previous bad choices, being an educator and playing “Dr. Bunny MandaEgg” for the children at Prairie Queen ES.
Murnan’s alter ego reposted a promotional bio for the Pride Charity Gala 2023 which described him as follows: “Shantel is a force to be reckoned with. By day, she's an Assistant Principal, molding young minds, but by night, she's the life of the party.”
How many parents at Prairie Queen ES were aware that Murnan was posting pictures of their children and their children’s activities at school to his drag queen’s publicly available social media? Apparently, the OKCPS district didn’t seem to mind.
In fact, for years, the most popular publications among the state’s gay population, such as The Gayly and The Oklahoma Gazette, have been highlighting Shantel P. Mandalay the drag queen and identifying Shane the educator or principal as the man behind the makeup. It seems many were aware of this dual personality within public education, but were parents ever informed?
Judging by Murnan’s gay nightclub act mocking Christianity at his other employer, The Boom (OKC gay bar and dinner theatre), it’s possible that being completely transparent with the parents of his mostly Hispanic students or respecting their culture and beliefs are not this principal’s top priority.
Murnan also hosts a regular event called “Say My Name” at the same venue (link to video) CONTENT WARNING:
Western Heights School Board Reportedly Aware of Shantel Mandalay Before Hiring Shane Murnan as ES Principal
A reliable inside source has informed this publication that the Western Heights School Board was informed of at least Murnan’s after-hours persona as drag queen Shantel Mandalay prior to approving his hire as a principal. It is unknown if the board discussed either Murnan’s 2001 arrest for possession of child pornography or the more current (2020) criminal probable cause filing against him in Oklahoma County district court prior to voting to approve his hiring. The board minutes concerning the approval of Murnan’s hiring are vague.
In the style of activist school boards across the nation, and out of step with Western Heights more typical process, the Western Heights school board chose to enter ‘executive session’, away from the public eye, to discuss Murnan’s batch of new hires. Meeting minutes from that portion of the June 12th, 2023, board meeting show board members Brian Flatley, Darrin Dunkin, Jerome Johnson and Teresa Lewis, along with superintendent Brayden Savage and attorney Laura Holmes, spent 40 minutes in executive session immediately before returning to publicly vote to approve Murnan’s hire. The notes about their private discussion state only “The employment of personal listed in Exhibit A” as the topic discussed.
This board had to have known this hire would be concerning and controversial among parents but chose not to engage any parents prior to approving Murnan as principal. This publication has reached out via email to board member Jerome Johnson, appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt, in December of 2022, to fill the district’s seat 5 vacancy. Johnson was asked what the board discussed during executive session prior to a unanimous vote (1 absent) to hire Murnan and three other principals. As of publication, Johnson had not yet responded.
This publication previously reported about a Project Veritas video that exposed Tulsa PS’s hiring of a school-hopping, name-changing and infamous teacher and radicalizer who had just been released from a neighboring school district (Owasso PS) for telling kids online, among other things, “If your parents don’t love and accept you for who you are this Christmas, f*** them, I’m your parents now, I’m proud of you, drink some water, I love you, bye.”
These hires aren’t slipping through the cracks. It appears they are being purposefully protected and provided access to children within schools. Since Oklahoma’s HB 1775 became law in April of 2021, prohibiting the teaching of the major tenants of critical race theory and gender ideology, it appears some districts are using strategic hiring as a path around that legislation. If they can’t teach radical ideologies, they’ll make kids experience them in the persona of school staff every day.
And where is now Principal Murnan recruiting new staff for John Glenn Elementary School? Through drag queen Shantel Mandalay’s social media. What special qualifications will those following Mandalay’s activities bring to school?
Western Heights PS Has Been Unstable for Quite Some Time
Battles over underperformance and financial mismanagement of the district came to a head beginning in late 2021 and throughout 2022, as the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) eventually sought to take control of the district following years of non-compliance. The district pushed back against the interventions and the state’s appointment of an interim superintendent, even destroying documents as the courts became involved and the likelihood of a state takeover increased.
In June of 2022, then Western Heights school board member Linda Farley was observed drinking beer during a virtual board meeting. She later apologized and explained that she had a kidney infection, stating, “I should not have drunk a beer during the meeting in order to flush out my kidneys.”
It appears Western Heights PS, though under new leadership, has added a brewing culture war with parents as its newest problem to fix. Murnan voluntarily stepped down from his Stillwater teaching position after the images of children engaging in sex acts were found on his computer. In a sane world, Murnan would’ve immediately moved on to a profession not involving children. His story hour efforts reflect his intention to push his personal agenda on children, far outside of academics.
Anyone who’s worked in or attended a public school understands that the principal sets the culture for the entire building. It doesn’t appear that the parents of John Glenn ES were allowed to provide any input about Murnan’s hire or the culture of their children’s school.
Ask yourself, is this what anyone’s grade-school principal looked or acted like just ten years ago, and why would it be acceptable now?
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