Oklahoma Education Department Investigates Western Heights School Principal

Accreditation at risk as probe into Western Heights principal is announced.

Wednesday, September 27th 2023, 7:45 pm

By: News 9

A school leader's activities outside the classroom have sparked a state investigation.

In a press release Tuesday, The Oklahoma State Department of Education announced their investigation into Western Heights Public Schools. The probe threatens the district's accreditation and a principal's employment.

Western Heights Public Schools was spotlighted in early September after hiring Dr. Shane Murnan as principal for John Glenn Elementary. Pictures of Murnan, who moonlights as a drag queen performer began circulating--sparking opinions from both sides.

“As long as he's not bringing that to school, what he wants to do on his own time doesn't matter to me at all,” said Western Heights’ parent Amy Boone.                       

“I no longer feel comfortable sending my children to class, and have decided to keep them home,” said a concerned parent.

Superintendent Ryan Walters immediately drew a line.

“A drag queen running a school is not in alignment with Oklahoma values,” said State Superintendent Ryan Walters.               

Walters called on the district to take action. With Murnan still employed, in a press release Tuesday the OSDE announced an investigation into the district, "based on concerns over the district’s hiring practices as well as the use of taxpayer money on drag queens."

Despite Murnan having undergone a background checks and Walters renewing his teaching certificate in April, OSDE plans to review Murnan's teaching certificate saying in part... "Oklahoma law provides for dismissal due to commission of an act of moral turpitude."

The district responded and addressed Murnan's employment, saying in part "...the district continues to follow our usual hiring practice when screening candidates for employment. ...."

As for the use of taxpayer dollars the district said, "No WHPS funds have ever been used “on drag queens” as alleged by OSDE".

Walters also accused the district of failing to protect students. The district said they are dedicated to student safety and academic excellence.

News 9 reached out to Dr. Murnan but did not heard back.


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