More and more charges have been mounting against Brooklyn Technical High School math and science teacher Sean Shaynak—he's been accused of having sex with underage students, asking underage students to engage in lesbian sex with each other, taking an underage student to a nude beach and a sex club, texting students nude photographs and sending one student over 10,000 texts, among other things. It's fair game to wonder how Shaynak's alleged behavior went unnoticed for the five years he taught at the school, and now even more dark allegations are jumping out of the woodwork—a former neighbor claims the teacher physically assaulted him.
Shaynak was never convicted, but the neighbor—a now 20-year-old Devonte Watson—stands by his claim that in 2005, Shaynak repeatedly beat him outside his home in Havre de Grace, Maryland. "He literally jumped on top of me. It happened so fast ... He was beating me with a closed fist," Watson told the Daily News. "It was painful ... he was really going at it. My face was hurting. Both my eyes were black, bloodshot. My face was swollen, the whole nine yards."
That charge has since been dismissed, though Watson's family had a restraining order issued against him for six months. Shaynak, meanwhile, was hired in 2008, and yesterday Mayor de Blasio, whose son attends Brooklyn Tech, called for his termination. "It’s disgusting,” he said. “This is someone who clearly should not have been a teacher, and I guarantee you he will never teach in a classroom again." Today, the Daily News ran an editorial questioning how Brooklyn Tech administrators and other adults overlooked Shaynak's behavior:
Shaynak’s slitherings were so brazen and long-running that someone at the school must have had some hint he was a grotesque victimizer. Teenage girls talk. It defies belief that one did not tell another and tell another about sexual experiences with an adult, a teacher no less.
When those adolescents talked, texted or Twittered, adults in the school community should have picked up signs something was very wrong. No? As for Shaynak’s overt actions in school, did no one on the faculty see that he had an unusual predilection for getting close to female students?
The Times spoke
with a number of Brooklyn Tech students, many of whom said they knew nothing of Shaynak's sexual relationships with students, if they knew of him at all. Some, though, noted that he seemed more like a buddy than a teacher. "He was like a bro, you know—you could talk to him like you could talk to any of your friends," one student told the paper. Others said he told them stories about his youth, gave them cigarettes, and was an easy grader. "He was liked by many students for being a relatable teacher that allowed you to complete work in his room, and gave good grades to most students, not just girls, unless the student was really, really, bad,” one senior said. “I know a few guys that got 100 in his class, and I got a 98."
Shaynak, who told reporters, “I have a defense. Now’s not the time . . . I will tell my side of the story in court,” is still on the payroll; he earns $52,744 a year. The Department of Education has not yet responded to request for comment, although a spokesperson told the Daily News that the DOE planned to "vigorously pursue his termination."
Update 12:30 p.m. DOE spokesperson Devora Kaye gave us the following statement:
These alleged actions are incredibly disturbing. The DOE has started the mandatory legal process to have Mr. Shaynak fired, and he’s already received a discontinuance notice. We are vigorously pursuing his termination. As soon as these allegations emerged, the DOE removed Mr. Shaynak from the classroom so that he was not, and would never be, in contact with students. Student safety remains our top priority.