NY Times She got to know Mr. Shaynak — “ShayShay” to his favorites — during her sophomore year, when she and a friend went to his classroom at lunch. He tutored them in geometry. He sometimes bought them lunch outside school. He gave one of them cigarettes.
Then, at one point, Sean Shaynak, the hip aerospace teacher in his early 40s with a flight simulator in his classroom, asked the girls if he could take pictures of them in the park, to inspire a nude painting he wanted to do. According to a friend of one of the girls whom she later confided in, they thought the request was weird and put him off, saying they were too busy. They told no one. They thought: Why ruin a teacher’s life? [...]
In interviews on Wednesday with dozens of students, virtually all said they had no knowledge of inappropriate sexual behavior on Mr. Shaynak’s part. But many knew that he was unusually close with some students, often in ways that might alarm parents, including smoking with students and sometimes attending their parties.
But these signs were not so much missed as, apparently, kept private by the only people who really knew Mr. Shaynak — his students, who liked him and saw him as one of their own. In this way, the authorities said, he was able to gain their trust and “groom” the girls he pursued.[...]
Those students who did know Mr. Shaynak were loyal. Two groups in particular — the smokers and the children in his aerospace classes — saw Mr. Shaynak as the rare teacher who talked like a teenager. He made students feel relaxed, told stories about flying and doled out cigarettes and hugs. He was the hip teacher who wore jeans, smoked with older students and drove a Mini Cooper, that is, when he wasn’t riding the B train home to Flatbush. [...]