A science teacher fed up with students on their phones in class is now jammed up with the school district.
A Pasco County instructor is busted using a cell phone jamming device in his classroom. Dean Liptak says he was trying to get students to focus on the lesson and not on their phones at Fivay High School in Hudson.
It just cost Liptak a 5-day suspension without pay. It's also illegal, but the district says Verizon chose not to prosecute him.
The district is concerned that the device put students' safety in danger.
Liptak tells the district he only thought the cell phone jammer would impact his classroom, and get his students to put down their phones and pay attention. The illegal device impacted a lot more than that, and the district says this isn't his first questionable decision.
"Verizon had come to the school saying someone had a jamming device, because the cell phone service was being interrupted in the area," says Pasco County School District Spokeswoman Linda Cobbe.
Cobbe says Liptak's jamming device blocked communication to the cell tower on the Fivay High campus.
"The consequences could have been dire, if he was jamming the signal so 911 calls can be made. It would affect an emergency in the school," says Cobbe.
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"God forbid if a child is under a desk, because there's a gunman in there. I would want him to reach into his pocket for his cell phone," says parent Martie Cornell.
LETTER OF SUSPENSION:Read what the district said
Liptak didn't answer the door at his Spring Hill home. He did have a written response to the district saying he researched cell phone jammers that are sold online.
TEACHER RESPONSE:Read what the teacher said
He says he talked with a deputy, who apparently told him the jammers are only illegal when used with bad intentions.
That's not true - it's against FCC laws.
FCC POSITION:Agency says jammer use is illegal
"No one is supposed to have a jammer anywhere," Cobbe says.
This is Liptak's second strike with the district. The pro wrestler turned science teacher 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.
"They felt he needed to be suspended this time. He hadn't learned a lesson in the past," says Cobbe.
Parents say it's a lesson for students, too: Follow district policy and turn off the phones in class.
"If you parent your child correctly, he's not going to disrespect his teacher, and he's going to respect himself to absorb as much education as he can," says Cornell. "The person I know is very caring, and very involved with the students, and wants them to better themselves," Cornell says.
LEARN MORE:Pasco district's policy on cell phone use