An Oklahoma public school principal has resigned after months of controversy surrounding his afterschool drag queen performances and past legal issues.
Shane Murnan, the former principal at John Glenn Elementary, announced his resignation Thursday, reportedly in part due to the burden he was placing on school resources.
After his hiring in August, Libs of TikTok posted on X about the principal’s questionable side hustle, as well as troubling former charges he faced.
“Shane is a drag queen who performs for children and reads books about gender to kids while dressed in drag,” Libs of TikTok posted. “Shane was also previously arrested on child porn charges. Would you want this person in charge of your kid’s school?”
After the post, Oklahoma Superintendent Ryan Walters called for Murnan’s resignation and opened an investigation into the “district’s hiring practices as well as the use of taxpayer money on drag queens.”
“Mr. Murnan has been clear that he is ‘very open’ about his alter ego and has shared it not only publicly available on social media but has performed in public libraries under a very thin veil of would-be anonymity,” Walters told local media. “These are not the actions of a school leader concerned about the well-being of children.
“When confronted with these facts, the Western heights school board failed to act to follow the law and protect our kids. When woke school board members won’t protect our kids from radical gender theory, I will.”
In 2001, Murnan was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation found four explicit photos on Murnan’s computer, reported OCPA.
According to the warrant, the police had been contacted by two individuals, one who said the teacher had made “concerning comments about two 10-year-old boys.”
At the time, Murnan was a 5th grade teacher, reported The Oklahoman. However, during the preliminary hearing, a judge dismissed the charges, citing a lack of probable cause to prove that the images depicted minors.
The district from which Murnan just resigned also confirmed it knew about his past before he was hired.
“This evening, the Board of Education approved the hiring of Dr. Shane Murnan for the Head Principal position at John Glenn Elementary. Recently, the district has been made aware of previous charges that were dismissed more than 20 years ago,” Western Heights Public Schools stated in June. “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.”
Despite calls for his resignation, the district defended its decision to hire Murnan, claiming standard hiring practices were followed.
“For Dr. Murnan, this included a felony criminal background check and a verification of his teaching certificate, which was renewed in April 2023 and signed by State Superintendent Ryan Walters,” the district said, according to The Oklahoman.
Since August, the district has spent roughly $65,000 on additional security and administrative help at John Glenn Elementary due to the controversy stirred by the hiring and subsequent backlash.
“It is very sad, just a terrible, tragic situation,” Western Heights Superintendent Brayden Savage said, according to The Oklahoman. “When people question if (the situation) affects kids outside of the building, it affects everyone in the district, in that way. Funds being used (for this) could have been used in other ways.”
On Thursday, Education Department spokesman Dan Isett was asked whether Walters felt responsible for Murnan’s resignation or the district’s troubles.
“Superintendent Walters demanded that the school take action and fire a drag queen who used social media to recruit students,” Isett answered. “Western Heights should never have brought a drag queen into a school. This is not a controversy; it is common sense. Walters will not allow Oklahoma schools to become a training ground in drag queen propaganda.
“Finally, it is absurd to think that Walter’s supporters are somehow inherently dangerous to the point of requiring extra security and is a slander. I’m surprised you’re even mentioning [it],” Isett continued.
Murnan’s resignation awaits approval from the school board, with a vote scheduled for Feb. 12.