A Pasco County, Florida, science teacher was suspended for five days without pay Tuesday for using a signal jamming device in his class.
Dean Liptak, a teacher at Fivay High School, used the device between 31 Mar and 2 Apr, according to ARS Technica.
“My intent for using the device was to keep students academically focused on schoolwork,” Liptak wrote in a letter sent to the school board and reported by ARS Technica.
But regardless of his intentions, the board deemed that the use of such devices could not be tolerated.
Pasco School Board Superintendent Kurt Browning wrote to Liptak that he had exercised “poor judgment.” His actions “posed a serious risk to critical safety communications as well as the possibility of preventing others from making 9-1-1 calls.”
Liptak argued that he wanted to avoid wasting time.
“It is counterproductive to stop instruction and lose academic focus when I have to tell a student to put his or her cell phone away,” Liptak’s letter read. “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.”
Browning advised Liptak that he had also potentially violated federal law, which bans the use of signal jamming devices.
“Verizon had come to the school saying someone had a jamming device, because the cell phone service was being interrupted in the area,” school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe commented, according to CBS.
However, the telecom company decided not to press charges against Liptak, CBS added.
Liptak was not reported to be contesting the school board’s decision.