Oklahoma's Drag Queen District Reveals Why Chronically Failing Schools Cannot Improve
Parents Openly Mocked by Unruly Educators and Activists at School Board Meeting
Since the public learned that an Oklahoma school district hired Dr. Shane Murnan, a local drag queen previously arrested for possession of child pornography and aggravated DUI, as an elementary school principal, a great deal has been revealed about just how school systems across America find themselves in an unrecoverable nosedive of underperformance.
Western Heights Public School district in southwest Oklahoma City has worked diligently to acquire all of the elements necessary to ensure students within its five elementary, two middle and one high school are woefully unprepared for what comes next while progressively pushing parents out of the picture. Every parent, no matter where they live, needs to understand just how this is happening.
How Bad is Bad? And Stop Saying It’s a Funding Issue
Many have heard about Baltimore Schools having 13 high schools in which none of the students are proficient in math. Less is reported about an entire layer of smaller districts across the country equally steeped in the belief that militantly affirming everything will magically raise reading and math scores.
Just how badly are districts like Western Heights failing children? Assessment performance for the district, based on 2021-2022 testing, shows few students are prepared for the next grade. Given that Oklahoma currently sits near the bottom (49th) of state rankings for K-12 public education quality, Western Heights is nationally among the worst of the worst in student performance.
A rapidly fading excuse for places like Western Heights is a lack of funding. Millions in special funding have been gifted to the district over recent years to improve failing schools, allowing Western Heights to spend significantly more (+27%) per student than the state average. The result for the extra spending is that only 7.6% of Western Heights students scored proficient or better on state testing within multiple disciplines.
By the time Western Heights kids are in middle school, they are statistically doomed.
Parents and Transphobia and Threats, Oh My!!!
Failing public school districts have a remarkable ability to double down on destructive policies and position the very adults making inexplicably disastrous decisions as victims. Despite confirming full knowledge of Murnan’s drag queen lifestyle and previous child porn charge prior to hiring him, neither the school board nor the superintendent have made any public statement about Murnan’s official employment status.
An inside source reported that Murnan was temporarily placed on paid administrative leave “for his safety” until the public storm passed. Given the extent of continuing coverage of the drag queen principal, newest information indicates Murnan will be comfortably home on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the year. Of course, reports of death threats with no public proof provided have parents locked out of the elementary school and the superintendent absent from district sporting events. The policy seems to be lock the door and claim a death threat when your decisions are questioned.
Parent-Phobic Public Education Builds Activism at All Levels that Shifts Power to Outside Organizations
Another key quality of failing public school systems involves a gradual alienation of parental influence and an unapproved shift of power to progressive outside organizations. This trend was fully on display at Western Heights September 11th board meeting. As predicted by this publication, the call for gay activist and progressive education outsiders to squeeze the parents of Western Heights students out of the conversation was answered in force.
Did Drag Queen #3 Plan Perfect Parent-Phobic School Board Meeting at Western Heights?
During preparations preceding the September 11th board meeting, one figure was more active than others. Dr. Chris Culver, Executive Director of Secondary Education & Communication for the district, was not just preparing, he was scurrying, moving back and forth to ensure each legacy media outlet was placed just so and directing two Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputies concerning who should be denied access and where a group of street preachers and protesters couldn’t congregate outside on public property. He carried an air of panic, but why?
Outside of being a district level administrator at Western Heights, Culver works for USofA, the group that puts on drag queen and gay pageants across the country. Principal Murnan (Shantel Mandalay) is an active and regular participant in USofA events, as is John Glenn ES Kindergarten class aide Paul Stafford (Carmen Deveraux). Culver knew these men on the gay pageant circuit long before their hiring at Western Heights.
According to his introduction bio on the USofA website, Dr. Culver has an extensive resume, parallel to his career in public education, that includes drag pageantry judging and personal preparation services for competitors. Since May of 2019, Culver has handled communications for USofA as the editor of the organization’s official newsletter. Culver’s partner Dr. Kelly Keliente Forbes, like Culver, is a longtime public education insider within the Oklahoma City metro area and a participant in gay pageantry as a former (2011) Mr. Gay Oklahoma.
Vertical Infiltration: Is Western Heights Harboring a Hat Trick of Drag Queens at the Classroom Aide, School Principal and now District Administrator Levels?
While there is no evidence that Dr. Chris Culver is a regular or local drag performer, a more discreet and unnamed drag queen with his hairline, eyes and ears seems to pop up with his partner Forbes, and sometimes with Principal Murnan, when traveling outside of Oklahoma. Culver even comments as himself when this mystery queen appears on social media during pageant season.
It’s left to the reader to decide and Dr. Culver to confirm whether he dabbles in cross-dressing but it’s not unreasonable to question whether Culver, one of the district’s highest-ranking administrators, would struggle to objectively evaluate Murnan’s appropriateness as a principal.
Where’s the Inclusion and Who’s Actually in Charge? School Board Meeting Includes Open Laughing at Parental Concerns and Domination by Like-Minded Teachers, Administrators and Activists
Failing schools are often ideologically one-sided and have forgotten that board meetings are meant to ensure transparency and allow parents an active voice in their children’s education. Western Height’s September board meeting was packed primarily with district staff and activists supporting Murnan, as media outlets with cameras circled the room, making the public comment portion of the meeting understandably intimidating for parents present to voice their concerns.
The majority of speakers during the public comment section were teachers donning t-shirts supporting the drag queen principal, an unofficial new uniform now confirmed to be worn by educators inside daytime classrooms as well. This begs some important and long ignored questions. Is it a conflict of interest for teachers, as employees of the district, to speak at school board meetings during public comments? Should teacher contracts specify that educators must listen to the taxpaying families they serve rather than boxing them out in such settings? Universally, the teachers spoke about how having Murnan as a principal was working out well for the adults at school.
The speaker lineup started with Kily Keeling, the instructional coach at John Glenn who utilized the official district logo as she put out calls to both the gay community and a progressive teachers’ organization encouraging their attendance at the meeting.
Keeling’s post was carried forward by an LGBT activist named Michael Clark who appears to have coordinated with The Queer Collective to distribute the #STAND4MURNAN shirts. Clark is a regular attendee at Murnan’s drag shows and was present at the school board meeting.
Within her comments at the board meeting, Keeling described herself, up until three weeks prior when Murnan took over as principal, as “a chronic absentee problem” who “had many days I sat in my car crying because I didn’t want to enter the building” due to a “toxic culture”. Keeling said Murnan “helped me as a single mother with my children” and secured the last fifth-grade seat in a learning intervention program called Summit for her failing son, which sounds like favoritism of a teacher’s child over other students for needed services.
Next came Cassidy Fetters, a new Kindergarten teacher at John Glenn who praised Murnan for hiring her as a recent college graduate. Fetters likened Murnan’s drag queen persona to others hunting or smoking marijuana in their free time. Fetters failed to mention the bathroom supervision issues outside her classroom door that recently resulted in the reported sexual assault of at least one 5-year-old (see article by Ray Carter at OCPA).
Next Jennifer West, a special education teacher at John Glenn, informed that Murnan’s child porn charge was an accident caused by the “wild, wild west” of the internet back in 2001. And so the meeting went with several constituent speakers choosing not to stand and approach the microphone when called.
The audience, whether in agreement or not, was respectful during comments in favor of Murnan. As the final public commenter, a concerned constituent, began her comments, all decorum and mutual respect left the activist/educator crowd. It appears bullying and peer pressure are now a teacher tactic, not a student problem.
As resident Laura Parker spoke about the concerning role of the education unions within the decline of public education, the crowd broadly snickered. When Parker spoke of her concern about a drag queen working as a Kindergarten classroom aide, the same crowd laughed openly and boisterously, halting her comments.
Silent Superintendents and Strategically Weak School Board Members
Strategically weak leadership and unruly teacher coddling also appear to be hallmarks within failing districts. As the teacher/activist group openly laughed at a concerned citizen speaker, Western Heights school board president Briana Flatley, Superintendent Brayden Savage and the entire board remained silent behind their microphones, failing to correct the unprofessional behavior of district staff. Eventually, a gentleman in the audience stood to fill the leadership void, scolding those acting like middle schoolers and quieting the mocking crowd.
Board president Flatley is a 29-year-old single woman with no children. She went through college at the University of Oklahoma on a Gates Millennium Scholarship, a $1 billion fund for minority students provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She was campus-based leader for the Gates program during her time at OU. Flatley is also the Oklahoma City Metro Organizing Specialist for the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), the state teachers’ union, which explains why she would allow a constituent to be berated by an activist crowd for publicly criticizing the teachers’ union. On her online resume, Flatley describes herself as a “Progressive Organizer”. As a Western Heights HS graduate, it appears Flatley was hand-picked to quietly obey her former teachers and administrators rather than dutifully represent the parents who placed her in Seat 1 of this board.
Also silent as the activist crowd derided the constituent speaker was Seat 3 board member Brayden Hunt. Within a recent interview with Nondoc concerning drag queen Murnan as an ES principal, Hunt confirmed the balance of power and direction at Western Heights has flipped stating, “We (the board) wouldn’t be able to move off of him (Murnan) as an administrator because the teachers would revolt. Teachers would be very upset with us.”
Hunt, a former youth pastor, is a product of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, where he recently earned his Masters Degree in Theological Studies. He lists racial justice as his first skill within his LinkedIn resume. In a growing space within higher education where social justice, religion and gender ideology collide for the purpose of ‘deconstructing’ all traditional institutions to accommodate every lifestyle choice, Iliff creates leaders who promote unfiltered inclusion over the protection of innocence.
Also within the Nondoc article, Hunt expressed support for Principal Murnan stating, “As long as it’s separate, and as long as what you do in your personal life is within the bounds of the law, there’s no reason for us to not hire you because of that.” There is ample, publicly available evidence that Murnan has frequently merged his roles as educator, activist and drag queen.
During his campaign, Hunt promised to be available to district patrons. On September 11th, he allowed them to be mocked and silenced.
Other board members appear equally intimidated, including Jerome Johnson who was appointed to Seat 5 by Governor Kevin Stitt (R) to strengthen parent representation. Despite being the only board member with children currently attending a Western Heights school, Johnson recently employed the fence-sitting strategy of abstaining from voting on critical hiring decisions, including the hiring of drag queen Paul Stafford as a Kindergarten aide.
Remaining board members Teresa Lewis (Seat 4) and Darrin Dunkin (Seat 2), both longtime Western Heights employees, knowingly voted to approve the hiring of both Shane Murnan and Paul Stafford.
Superintendent Savage was equally silent as teachers bullied a constituent. Savage is a Western Heights insider, having spent much of her career within the failing district. After a short departure that included stints at the OSDE and as a principal in Shawnee, Oklahoma, in January of 2022, former State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister appointed Brayden Savage as Western Heights interim superintendent. Hofmeister, who took Oklahoma education to the bottom of state rankings during her tenure, chose someone steeped within the failing WH culture to turn the district around. Chronically failing districts tend to stick with the same people that got them there.
Questionable Community Partners: With Parents Drowned Out, Who’s Voice Was Most Applauded at This School Board Meeting
Failing districts talk a lot about community partnerships, blurring the line between educators and activists. Heavily applauded at the board meeting was Jenny Archer, who described herself as a certified educator, former teacher and assistant principal with a masters in education. According to Archer, “There is no reason to fire Dr. Murnan or anyone else for being an entertainer”. She described parents’ concerns about Murnan as a 'witch hunt’ fueled by State Superintendent Ryan Walter (R).
What Jennifer Archer failed to mention is that she is the Senior Pastor at Evolve Church, an LGBTQ affirming church in Oklahoma City’s ‘Gayborhood’ admittedly focused on the “serious deconstruction” of traditional Christianity and any other system, including public education, that fails to affirm every lifestyle presented.
Evolve church welcomes all fetishes, sexual attractions and identities, including members of the pup community of gay men who wear dog masks, S&M straps and are dominated by a handler.
Often publicly positioned as innocent escapism, pup play is grooming designed to draw young men into the gay lifestyle and train them as sexual submissives. Within the gay vernacular, “pups” are young men with no experience in gay sex. Somehow, the leader of this church was enthusiastically applauded by many teachers at a school board meeting.
It is unknown why Archer, who is alternatively certified by the OSDE, left the teaching profession. Archer, like Murnan, still holds teaching credentials in Oklahoma.
A regular partner of Evolve church and supporter of Murnan is Free Mom Hugs, a non-profit created by Sara Cunningham of Oklahoma City. This mother of a gay son has parlayed considerable fame by standing in for the parents of any LGBT person whose family of origin doesn’t agree with every choice they make.
Activist Sara Cunningham does not live in, nor does she have children in the Western Heights district, yet she was on the front row for the school board meeting with other representatives from Free Mom Hugs. One of Cunningham’s favorite interview lines is, “It took some time for me to get from the church to the pride parade.” This isn’t about public education. Failing schools are seeking ideological custody of other people’s children.
The Death Grip of Higher Education and Academic Arrogance
Some of the most concerning staff members within Western Heights and other failing districts have either “Dr.” before their names or a great many letters following. Within the district, 31.0% of teachers hold a Masters degree or higher beating the statewide average (27.6%). The academically arrogant culture within many failing, mostly urban districts points to teacher and administrator experience and advanced teacher education as vital to student performance, yet Western Heights enjoys a level of educator experience nearly identical to the state average while ranking among the worst performers in the state.
It’s clear that a PhD or years of teaching within failing schools does not automatically qualify anyone as a sound, successful or safe hire for any public school. State Superintendent Ryan Walters recognizes this, and as of yesterday, the OSDE reopened the investigation into the Western Heights district’s accreditation status.
A true impasse has been reached. District leadership has decided, through both action and inaction, that public schools can no longer be places void of sexuality where children can develop and learn in a healthy, appropriate and protected way. Oklahoma parents can be silenced, but they can also pull their children out of public schools, taking public funds with them. Top heavy, failing districts like Western Heights might want to give that some thought.
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