Maybe they should have just put their phones away. A high school science teacher in Hudson, Florida, has been suspended after using a cell phone signal jammer to prevent his students from using their smartphones in class.
Dean Liptak, a teacher at Fivay High School, will have five days to himself without pay after getting caught using the jammer in his class over three days between March 31 and April 2. Liptak told school administrators he did it for academic reasons and said a local police officer told him there weren't any laws against it. But the signal jam turned out to be so effective that a cell phone company detected it when it caused trouble for an area cell tower.
“The cell phone provider came to the campus and asked to search the campus, so at that point in time administration believed it was a student that might have had this device,” Betsy Kuhn, a school spokeswoman, told Bay News 9. "There was some issues with the signal all through the school, people were complaining about it, and during that time he wasn't saying, 'Oh it's me, I've got the jammer,' it was not a word.”
The Federal Communications Commission has made it clear that federal law prohibits the operation, sale or marketing of personal jammers -- small, radiolike devices -- as they may interfere with cell devices, Wi-Fi signals, police radar and GPS technology.
Liptak did not contest the suspension. He explained his reasoning in a letter sent to the district.
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”