Last Friday afternoon a 17-year-old male student at Manual High School told his parents he was going to a friend’s house. He lied, but that’s standard procedure for a teenager. What he did was spend part of the night with 38-year-old Carrie Shafer, a biology teacher at his school.
A police officer later discovered the couple in Miles Park, and arrested Shafer after finding alcohol and a prophylactic near their vehicle. It sparked a firestorm of media coverage, and is being investigated by the Crimes Against Children Unit of the local police department. She resigned on Sunday. The events that unfolded, however, were only the high water mark of their relationship.
According to several Manual students I spoke with, the 17-year-old is a junior member of the cross-country team and a popular student. He is described as “fun, likeable, and outgoing.”
Sources say the young man had been very fond of Shafer throughout the year. One said that he was always in Shafer’s classroom before school. He would often be in her room while Shafer was teaching other classes.
Some students told me the relationship was “inappropriate.” Another said the couple was seen in school flirting and talking, and even tickling.
The story being reported in local and national media has failed to focus on the relationship. Several sources confirm that Shafer and the student have been texting each other for “at least three months.” On at least one occasion, Shafer attended a Manual track meet, with her young children, in which the student competed.
The student posted a music video on his Facebook profile about being a part of someone else’s affair. As some might expect, he’s been heard boasting about the situation at Manual.
The situation has caused anguish for some students, who describe Shafer as a well-liked instructor.
“She did something very wrong, but I can’t help but feel sorry for her,” one said.