Teacher Reprimanded For Controlling Students’ Phones Using Network Jamming Device In Classroom
A Florida high school teacher was suspended without pay for five days Tuesday for deploying a signal jammer in his science class to block students from using their mobile phones.
Superintendent Kurt Browning said in a Pasco County School Board reprimand letter (PDF) to instructor Dean Liptak that he exercised “poor judgement” and “posed a serious risk to critical safety communications as well as the possibility of preventing others from making 9-1-1 calls.”
Liptak was accused of jamming mobile devices from his Fivay High School classroom between March 31 and April 2. Verizon discovered the blockage on the cell tower located on campus.
The teacher said he did the deed for education’s sake. According to his letter (PDF) to the district, he said he “could hit the off button if there was any type of emergency and the phone signals would instantly activate.” He also said a local police officer told him before he deployed the device that “there are no state laws against using them as long as you don’t use them for malicious intent.”
Here is more from the letter:
My name is Dean Liptak, and I’m writing this letter to tell my side of the situation involving my use of a cell phone jammer in my classroom. My intent for using the device was to keep students academically focused on schoolwork. It is counter productive to stop instruction and lose academic focus when I have to tell a student to put his or her cell phone away. It is also unproductive to confiscate a cell phone, put it in the school-approved box and keep it until the end of the period. This is our school policy, and if a student refuses to relinquish his or her cell phone, I have to write a referral and lose additional academic focus in my classroom. Moreover, if a student has too many referrals, the student is not permitted to attend extra school activities, which I believe is important to achieve academic success.
The Federal Communications Commission, meanwhile, says that “federal law prohibits the operation, marketing, or sale of any type of jamming equipment.”
It was not immediately clear where Liptak got the device. He wrote to the school board that he found them for sale on Amazon and watched “videos on how to make them on YouTube.”
Local media described Liptak as a former professional wrestler who was “reprimanded in 2013 after he used violent questions on a test referencing the velocity of a student thrown against a wall by a teacher and the mass of a car running over a baby.”
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