Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Oklahoma principal with drag queen side gig resigns under pressure from state Superintendent Ryan Walters

By 37ci3 Feb13,2024

For two decades, Shane Murnan has worked as an educator during the day and a drag queen at night and on weekends in Oklahoma City clubs. He won awards for his performances as he progressed in his career to become an administrator. According to him, until last year, there was never a problem with his dual identities.

At the beginning of the fall semester of 2023, as Murnan started new job As principal of John Glenn Elementary School in the Western Heights School District, an anonymous newsletter posted about his drag persona and past criminal charges he faced. Two days later, on August 31, TikTok’s far-right Libs social media account posted posts about Murnan and Ryan Walters, arson state comptroller, called him to be fired. Soon the district and Murnan received bomb threatsaccording to police records and interviews.

Now Murnan is quitting his job, and Walters is trying to make rules to facilitate the dismissal of teachers who are acting out of their jobs. Murnan said he likely won’t work for another school district in Oklahoma after this experience.

“I’m a very professional person — I’ve worked really hard,” Murnan said in an interview. “I went to school. I got my bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate — I’m dedicated to education, trying to make it better. But they destroyed me and now I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. It was a nightmare.”

The Western Heights School Board voted Monday to accept Murna’s resignation at its next monthly meeting.

According to Murna, district administrators have not allowed him to work in the John Glenn Elementary School building during the school day since September because they say he is a safety risk. While West Heights superintendent Brayden Savage initially supported Murna, she said, told him last month that the district would fire him because of rising security costs if he didn’t resign. According to Murna, the district asked him to sign a contract that included a clause barring him from speaking publicly about the controversy, but he refused.

Savage did not respond to a request for comment.

Murnan is the latest example of an educator singled out by Walters for ideological differences. Walters accused by a teacher promoting pornography in 2022 Share the QR code access books from the Brooklyn Public Library; The teacher quit and moved out of state as Walters moved to revoke his teaching license. Last August, Walters introduced TikTok Libs post about an Oklahoma school librarian — who said her “radical liberal agenda is teaching kids to love books and be kind” and that it’s a “woke ideology”; district librarian for a few days received bomb threatswas considered unconvincing.

Ryan Walters, Oklahoma State Superintendent,
Oklahoma schools superintendent Ryan Walters warned that the people who hired Shane Murnan “will be held accountable.”Christopher Creese for NBC News

reacts previous reports On Murna’s speech, Walters posted a video called his resignation on February 2 “a huge victory for Oklahoma schools.” He promised that those who hired him “will be held accountable.”

The Oklahoma Department of Education declined to answer several questions about Walters’ comments about Murnan and West Heights, but Walters said in a statement that he is “proposing the most aggressive model in the country to identify these people and remove them from our schools.”

Walters recently he suggested a regulation it would allow educators to be fired for “extremely sexually suggestive conduct” outside of work “in the presence of a minor or in a manner accessible to minors on the Internet.” He said the proposed rule, which is still under review by the state agency, is an attempt to prevent other procrastinators from working as teachers or administrators, and the department stated assumes that such educators are “likely to behave inappropriately around minors in the classroom.”

An anonymous newsletter called V1SUT, which first brought attention to Murnan, also often focused on decades of criminal charges against Murnan.

Murnan was charged with possession of child sexual abuse material in 2001, when she was a fifth-grade teacher. Two judges dismissed the charges, ruling that prosecutors failed to prove the allegations, and the cases were dismissed. Murnan claims that his former colleague made up these claims.

Murnan passed a background and district check before Western Heights hired him as principal said he was aware from past court cases. District said he came highly recommended, noting that his teaching certificate had recently been signed by Walters.

Community members collected in September for Murna’s defense. They showed up at a school board meeting wearing T-shirts that read “#StandWithMurnan.”

Murnan said she doesn’t hide her side gig as a drag queen, but she doesn’t brag about it at school either.

“It’s never been a problem because I’ve never made it a problem,” he said. “I did my side job on the weekends, then I went to work and worked my tail off to make the school a better place. They never contradicted each other. Then someone took it and ran with it and tried to make it into a show it wasn’t.

According to a video of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Savage, the district superintendent, told John Glenn Elementary School staff at a Dec. 15 meeting that he defended Murnane. However, Savage told staff that Murna will not be returning to the elementary school campus because she and the district still receive hate mail and threats.

“I’m not going after Ryan Walters,” Savage said, “but at the end of the day, I have to keep the students and staff of this school safe. The hate hasn’t stopped. It’s a safety risk for everyone to bring the thing back into the building. I’m not sure if one of those crazy people is going to come and clean the building, quote, this is something I have observed many times.”

In January, Murnan said, the district unexpectedly placed him on administrative leave. Savage then asked him to resign, citing additional security costs, Murnan said. Wild told the Oklahoman the district had spent about $65,000 on additional security, administrative assistance and other costs since August. Murnan said that he signed a letter of resignation on January 26.

Murnan said his removal raises questions about the focus of the state education department.

“Right now, it’s not about the kids in Oklahoma,” Murnan said. “It’s all about politics”

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By 37ci3

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