Teacher Suspended For Homemade Cellphone Jammer

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This sounds like a pretty cool teacher. I had no idea it was illegal to operate a jammer: why didn't those train stations in San Francisco get busted for it a few years back?

I have to be honest, I don't think the guy should have been using a cell jammer. There are better ways to handle this sort of thing, like detention and then suspension for multiple infractions.

I really like the idea of having little cubbies for kids to put their phones in when they come into class: still hard to prevent theft, though.

flying_whimsy:
This sounds like a pretty cool teacher. I had no idea it was illegal to operate a jammer: why didn't those train stations in San Francisco get busted for it a few years back?

I have to be honest, I don't think the guy should have been using a cell jammer. There are better ways to handle this sort of thing, like detention and then suspension for multiple infractions.

I really like the idea of having little cubbies for kids to put their phones in when they come into class: still hard to prevent theft, though.

That's a good idea. Perhaps a locker system then?

Though, I've got to say, why are we OK with their cell phones being taken away and not a jammer?

Lightknight:

flying_whimsy:
This sounds like a pretty cool teacher. I had no idea it was illegal to operate a jammer: why didn't those train stations in San Francisco get busted for it a few years back?

I have to be honest, I don't think the guy should have been using a cell jammer. There are better ways to handle this sort of thing, like detention and then suspension for multiple infractions.

I really like the idea of having little cubbies for kids to put their phones in when they come into class: still hard to prevent theft, though.

That's a good idea. Perhaps a locker system then?

Though, I've got to say, why are we OK with their cell phones being taken away and not a jammer?

I think it's because you're not actually interfering with their phone or other communications. A classroom with a locker system still has a landline and the teacher's mobile where a jammer could interfere with multiple classrooms. If every class had a locker system everyone would know where they stood.

Lightknight:

flying_whimsy:
This sounds like a pretty cool teacher. I had no idea it was illegal to operate a jammer: why didn't those train stations in San Francisco get busted for it a few years back?

I have to be honest, I don't think the guy should have been using a cell jammer. There are better ways to handle this sort of thing, like detention and then suspension for multiple infractions.

I really like the idea of having little cubbies for kids to put their phones in when they come into class: still hard to prevent theft, though.

That's a good idea. Perhaps a locker system then?

Though, I've got to say, why are we OK with their cell phones being taken away and not a jammer?

I think it's because of the following reasons:

1. The device, if taken, is still functional and can be used if necessary by returning the device.

2. The parents/guardians of the child can still send important information (family member dies, your sister is missing, etc), even if the device is not with the child. If it's jammed, I'm pretty sure the device wouldn't be able to receive any information, and thus potentially important messages would be lost.

3. The range of the jamming device might exceed the range of the classroom, and thus illegally block people's phones who do have permission to use them, and might need to use them in an emergency. Possibly forcing someone to leave an injured person and run far away from them, in order to request help. Which would make it difficult to have the 911 responder walk them through first aid on the phone.

These are just random theories I have on what they will probably say is the reason why the jammer = bad. I don't actually agree with them much, since you could easily say "Well taking the phone away prevents all those things too, just like the jammer", and I would agree. But that's my guess as to the arguments they will present.

The only one of those I personally might agree with is number 3. If say, your classroom is only 30 square feet big, but the range of your jammer is say, twice that, or 3 times that. You could potentially jam classes on other floors, and out into the hallway, possibly even the administrative offices if you are close enough. This would have the unforseen outcome of jamming more than just your class. And I can kind of see that reasoning. Having been in an emergency situation where we needed to call 911, having to suddenly stop and try and find the jammer, and turn it off, and then try to contact help could mean someone dies. Beyond that situation though, yeah, local jammers to keep them focused on class seems a fairly good idea to me.

He sounds like an awesome teacher, honestly.

No! No! Cell phone jammers are wrong! The FCC says so!

...And I totally don't want to sneak one of those things into a movie theater... No! Wrong! Naughtybadmusn't!

Jammers should be standard equipment in classrooms.

Lightknight:

flying_whimsy:
This sounds like a pretty cool teacher. I had no idea it was illegal to operate a jammer: why didn't those train stations in San Francisco get busted for it a few years back?

I have to be honest, I don't think the guy should have been using a cell jammer. There are better ways to handle this sort of thing, like detention and then suspension for multiple infractions.

I really like the idea of having little cubbies for kids to put their phones in when they come into class: still hard to prevent theft, though.

That's a good idea. Perhaps a locker system then?

Though, I've got to say, why are we OK with their cell phones being taken away and not a jammer?

Disclosure is a good reason to me. Using a jammer just seems needlessly sneaky, and if the kids don't know, they might not know to tell their parents. I don't know whether the guy here volunteered to tell though.

On the other hand, if it was standardized, I think I'd be okay with it.

To be fair, the school board did the right thing. I like the guy, and applaud his ingenuity, but they are right about it being a poor choice made for the right reasons. Especially if jammers are illegal to begin with. 5 days without pay seems harsh, but this could have gone a lot worse for everyone involved, and glad he wasn't fired.

You all seem to be ignoring something important, which is that (unless the technology has become more refined since I was in high school, which is a very real possibility), these jammers don't just block cell signals, but many different signal types. It's almost certainly never going to be a problem if you can't text the girl sitting next to you; it's a different matter altogether if the teacher two rooms over got sick of in-class phone use, flipped on a cell phone jammer, and now your Pacemaker has stopped working.

Steven Bogos:
Professional wrestler turned high school science teacher Dean Liptak has been suspended for using an illegal cell phone jammer in his class.

[...]

Liptak was previously 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.

God damnit, now I have a picture of Mr. Torgue teaching highschool classes in my head, just without the explosions.

Sewa_Yunga:

Steven Bogos:
Professional wrestler turned high school science teacher Dean Liptak has been suspended for using an illegal cell phone jammer in his class.

[...]

Liptak was previously 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.

God damnit, now I have a picture of Mr. Torgue teaching highschool classes in my head, just without the EXPLOOOSIOOONS!!! WEWEWEWREREWERWEOOOOW!! *plays air guitar*

There you go, I corrected your spelling for you. xD

This actually reminds me of my physics teacher in highschool. He used our students in his examples. Like one of my classmates was a hardcore skater, so he would use examples like "Ben, the Super Skater, is traveling down a 45 degree, frictionless slope. How fast would be he be going upon reaching flat surface, and how long would it take for him to slow down once friction is in place again." xD He was a very amusing teacher.

visiblenoise:

Lightknight:

flying_whimsy:
This sounds like a pretty cool teacher. I had no idea it was illegal to operate a jammer: why didn't those train stations in San Francisco get busted for it a few years back?

I have to be honest, I don't think the guy should have been using a cell jammer. There are better ways to handle this sort of thing, like detention and then suspension for multiple infractions.

I really like the idea of having little cubbies for kids to put their phones in when they come into class: still hard to prevent theft, though.

That's a good idea. Perhaps a locker system then?

Though, I've got to say, why are we OK with their cell phones being taken away and not a jammer?

Disclosure is a good reason to me. Using a jammer just seems needlessly sneaky, and if the kids don't know, they might not know to tell their parents. I don't know whether the guy here volunteered to tell though.

On the other hand, if it was standardized, I think I'd be okay with it.

Oh, if they go with Jammers then they HAVE to disclose it. In my mind, a failure to disclose it is the real liability.

Happyninja42:

2. The parents/guardians of the child can still send important information (family member dies, your sister is missing, etc), even if the device is not with the child. If it's jammed, I'm pretty sure the device wouldn't be able to receive any information, and thus potentially important messages would be lost.

The other points have been countered in this thread, but if a phone cannot get signal, it does not simply lose the message, it will receive the message when it gets back on the network.

Recusant:
You all seem to be ignoring something important, which is that (unless the technology has become more refined since I was in high school, which is a very real possibility), these jammers don't just block cell signals, but many different signal types. It's almost certainly never going to be a problem if you can't text the girl sitting next to you; it's a different matter altogether if the teacher two rooms over got sick of in-class phone use, flipped on a cell phone jammer, and now your Pacemaker has stopped working.

Different frequencies. A cell phone jammer is not going to interfere with a pacemaker. It will only interfere with cell phones or things operating within its jamming range. Jammer and Pacemaker companies actually work together for this reason in that they're aware of one another and police their products accordingly. Modern Pacemakers operate at 402-405MHz frequency. Jammers block frequencies of 140-180MHz and 450-480MHz.

Not only that, but Pacemaker companies actually store the pacemaker in a faraday cage that would prevent a jammers or anything else using radio frequencies (RF) from being able to impact it in any way.

So please understand that you are perpetuating a myth or urban legend here.

The major consideration is really just restricted to the ability to make emergency calls.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/06/business/la-fi-tn-fcc-on-cell-phone-jammer-20120306

Every example that the FCC lists is just regarding emergency calls being impacted.

This is something that can be managed with how the device is set up. Done properly and you can get the device to only target the classroom with minimal bleedout through the walls.

Dogstile:

Happyninja42:

2. The parents/guardians of the child can still send important information (family member dies, your sister is missing, etc), even if the device is not with the child. If it's jammed, I'm pretty sure the device wouldn't be able to receive any information, and thus potentially important messages would be lost.

The other points have been countered in this thread, but if a phone cannot get signal, it does not simply lose the message, it will receive the message when it gets back on the network.

You know, you'd think I'd remember that, seeing as I worked for a cell phone company in the tech support/customer service unit. Goes to show how quickly we dump information we no longer use regularly.

As to the other points, yeah I stated they were fairly flimsy reasons, I was just throwing out potential reasons they would provide against it. Not that I really agree with them being valid reasons.

Lightknight:

Every example that the FCC lists is just regarding emergency calls being impacted.

This is something that can be managed with how the device is set up. Done properly and you can get the device to only target the classroom with minimal bleedout through the walls.

I read that in this case his jammer was strong enough to affect the nearby cell tower which is why Verizon started investigating. It does seem that this guy lacked the technical expertise to limit the range on the jammer properly. Since it was homemade it might have also hit frequencies outside the range a professional jammer would use.

Dimitriov:

Steven Bogos:
High School Teacher Suspended For Homemade Cellphone Jammer

Liptak has been suspended without pay for five days following the incident, which the school board's superindentent described as an exercise in "poor judgement" which "posed a serious risk to critical safety communications as well as the possibility of preventing others from making 9-1-1 calls."

Permalink

Oh, for fuck's sake. Fine, it may well be illegal to jam communications. But, seriously? The world was fine before everyone had a phone in their pocket to call 9-1-1 at the drop of a dime.

This is a bullshit line of reasoning. Yes, something might happen. Something always might happen. That's not a good rationale for dictating behaviour.

Following the law is a good baseline for dictating behavior. Not 100% but its a start. Also just because something was done before doesn't mean we accept it now. We used to let kids work in steel mills, yeah they *might* fall into molten iron, but something always might happen. Also as times change the reactions change. 20 years ago if a kid was in danger immediately someone would have been sent to the office to personally notify the office staff to contact medical/emergency services. Now everyone in the room is going to pull out their phones. Yes they would eventually go get the office, but moments are lost. And before you say "Oh the teacher would turn it off", he might, or he might panic and forget it, or he might panic realizing that his personal unauthorized device could be partly responsible for this danger and decide to play ignorant.

Haha, I would love to build my own jammer and mess with people. I have to say, this law against jammers is not totally unique, but it is a lot more lax in some other countries I am aware of. I get why it's a problem, but I also find it kind of annoying that it's very existence depends on a fairly uncommon "what if" situation. Most of the time, people are not in any kind of imminent danger from such devices. I would like to point out that the law literally outlines how it's illegal for civilians to use. Law enforcement can jam communication signals.

I'd be surprised if a suspension is all that happens. There were a number of arrests just for having them in the early 2000s and every now and again you see a story about someone getting hard jail time for same.

Alar:
They still have landlines at a school. This would not prevent anyone from dialing 911. In fact, most schools have a LANDLINE PHONE IN EVERY ROOM.

Most? I can believe "a lot", but "most"?
Every classroom I was taught in and the ones I'm currently teaching in don't have phones, not including the intercom box and the phone in my pocket. Colleges are a different story in that regard, but even then, not all collages have open line phones. My previous collage, the phones linked to an automated system.

I suspect the real reason was because it is illegal, and the school had to act or get in trouble. Every classroom has a hardwire phone and probably a hardware computer in the case of emergency, jamming cell phones just isn't really relevant to class safety.

JSoup:
I'd be surprised if a suspension is all that happens. There were a number of arrests just for having them in the early 2000s and every now and again you see a story about someone getting hard jail time for same.

Alar:
They still have landlines at a school. This would not prevent anyone from dialing 911. In fact, most schools have a LANDLINE PHONE IN EVERY ROOM.

Most? I can believe "a lot", but "most"?
Every classroom I was taught in and the ones I'm currently teaching in don't have phones, not including the intercom box and the phone in my pocket. Colleges are a different story in that regard, but even then, not all collages have open line phones. My previous collage, the phones linked to an automated system.

Really? My school district is an aging community with less than 2000 residents in the whole school district. Pre-K through 12th grade has 324 students. Every room has a hardline phone. All the schools I've ever been in, every room has a hardline phone.

What's that, there's a cellphone jammer and you need to make an emergency call?

I guess there is no way at all of resolving this situation. You'll just have to let the flames engulf you.

Or you could, you know, respond rationally and turn OFF the jammer.

Baresark:
Haha, I would love to build my own jammer and mess with people. I have to say, this law against jammers is not totally unique, but it is a lot more lax in some other countries I am aware of. I get why it's a problem, but I also find it kind of annoying that it's very existence depends on a fairly uncommon "what if" situation. Most of the time, people are not in any kind of imminent danger from such devices. I would like to point out that the law literally outlines how it's illegal for civilians to use. Law enforcement can jam communication signals.

I dont even think immediate danger is the real reason they're banned. They can cause so much inconvenience and trouble (I think this one was interfering with a cell phone tower) and people dont really legitimately need them.

Steven Bogos:
Liptak was previously 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.

Now I'm wondering if the test questions were at all related to cell phone use in class.

Adam Jensen:
Florida is completely retarded anyway. Here's a country that stands to lose the most because of climate change, and they don't even believe that it's real. Hard to have sympathy for such idiots. They also have that stupid "stand your ground" law. So this latest example of idiocy doesn't surprise me either.

Did you just call Florida a "country" in the same post that you used to generalize the entire state as a bunch of idiots?

I almost don't even care about the story, I'm pretty preoccupied with the concept of a super-buff guy with that kind of attitude teaching a science class and what that would be like. Seriously, this guy's life sounds like it would make the perfect TV show.

but ah yes, the story. a week suspension does not strike me at all as overly-cruel in the situation. The guy was using an illegal device, and it could have potentially caused problems in the wrong situation. 5 days unpayed suspension is hardly the end of the world.

Happyninja42:

Sewa_Yunga:

God damnit, now I have a picture of Mr. Torgue teaching highschool classes in my head, just without the EXPLOOOSIOOONS!!! WEWEWEWREREWERWEOOOOW!! *plays air guitar*

There you go, I corrected your spelling for you. xD

No, I just meant the actual explosions that follow Torgue anywhere. I fully expect that teacher to talk in capitals only.

STOP LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE! BECAUSE OF YOU I JUST LOST MY ACADEMIC FOCUS!
DEEETEENTION!!! WEEEEOW-WEEEEEOW!!!

He sounds like a pretty awesome teacher. Every classroom should have a jammer like this. He was going above and beyond to make up for the schools failing and got punished for it.

Ok, could we please talk about the fact that this was used to be a wrestler?

And could we also talk about how his students were being taught science by a wrestler?

Because I can't get over that.

spartan231490:

JSoup:
I'd be surprised if a suspension is all that happens. There were a number of arrests just for having them in the early 2000s and every now and again you see a story about someone getting hard jail time for same.

Alar:
They still have landlines at a school. This would not prevent anyone from dialing 911. In fact, most schools have a LANDLINE PHONE IN EVERY ROOM.

Most? I can believe "a lot", but "most"?
Every classroom I was taught in and the ones I'm currently teaching in don't have phones, not including the intercom box and the phone in my pocket. Colleges are a different story in that regard, but even then, not all collages have open line phones. My previous collage, the phones linked to an automated system.

Really? My school district is an aging community with less than 2000 residents in the whole school district. Pre-K through 12th grade has 324 students. Every room has a hardline phone. All the schools I've ever been in, every room has a hardline phone.

Might be a regional thing? I figured this would be something were we'd had some people saying they had a phone in other room and other people saying the opposite.

Lightknight:
Not only that, but Pacemaker companies actually store the pacemaker in a faraday cage that would prevent a jammers or anything else using radio frequencies (RF) from being able to impact it in any way.

So please understand that you are perpetuating a myth or urban legend here.

The major consideration is really just restricted to the ability to make emergency calls.

Didn't know that about the Faraday cages; that's interesting. I also didn't know that many models are now even MRI-safe. The days of legal requirements to put up "microwave oven in use" signs are over- but they're just that, over. My information was, as I said, out of date. It was not false; neither an urban legend nor a myth.

Im surprised he wasnt arrested. Jamming cell phone signals is illegal with possibility of jail time.

I can hardly imagine how frustrating it must be for the fine teachers of the world who have to try and get these kids to focus on their studies.

When you are trying to utilize 19th century techniques in 21st century world no wonder its frustrating why, when there are much easier and more fun ways to get the same information, people are bored in your class.

In his defense, Liptak stated that he never intended his device to be used for malicious means, and he could have switched it off at any time should an emergency arise. "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."

He would not be able to know if an emergency had arrised. See, the thing about Jamming being illegal is that its also illegal not only to make emergency calls but to also RECIEVE emergency calls, such as ones from your family. as such, there is absolutely no way for him to know whether an incoming call was energency or not, so his statement is bullshit.

runic knight:
Hell, I'll be honest, I support the teacher in this one. The damn thing having an easy to use switch or even a deadman, and making sure everyone knows "turn this off to use phones again" and it solves all the emergency problems while still being functional.
<...>
Perhaps he could just install some iron pipe in the walls, or have a couple powerful microwaves running at all times instead? Jamming devices may be illegal, but not the act of interfering with a signal itself through secondary means like a good old Faraday cage.

Still wouldnt work for incoming calls, as you cant guess when that is going to happen.

Faraday cage is not illegal, but it also causes electric discharge inside it as soon as you have any electronics inside. This has been known to cause anything from mild nausea to hallucinations (accidental faraday cages is actually a significant amount of cause for ghost stories caused by electronic field induced hallucinations), so no way it would be allowed in a school.

Scarim Coral:
Honestly I'm in more support with this teacher or rather I don't get why the entire school boards don't have one already, that is if they can afford it?

....because its illegal?

CrystalShadow:

Fun fact, I'm a student pilot, and this made me even more curious as to why mobile phones have to be switched off during a flight...

Let me answer that. So the passengers would have to pay premium for satelite phones on a plane. Thats it. Cell phone signals have absolutely 0 chance of interfering with anything on a plane. not only plane computers are shielded from FAR worse interference (think lightning strikes if were talking commercial jets) but they operate on entirely different frequencies. there is simply no way for a cellphone to interfere unless it was intentionally modified as a form of terrorism or something.

CrystalShadow:

Firstly, yes, they do interfere with onboard equipment. (radio equipment. You can hear interference on the radios sometimes if there's nearby mobile phones)

This is what i call a myth.

Now imagine you fly over a city at 20,000 feet. Your mobile is now potentially in range of thousands of mobile phone masts all at once. Which, as it turns out, with certain combinations of old analogue phones and infrastructure could... In effect cripple ALL of the towers your phone connected to, because they weren't intended to handle that.

Cell phone signals are not powerful enough to travel 20,000 feet. at that height you simply have no signal. your phone is in range of 0 towers at that height. Even if the towers transmitted "loud" enough to reach the phone, your phones transmitter is nowhere near powerful enough to answer.

SonOfVoorhees:
If a kid still uses their phone in class after being told not to - take it off them. Quite simple really. Im sure the school has rules stating kids cant use phone in class.

It is illegal to confiscate an item of your student. you can get fired for that.

Kids spend too much time on their phones? Everybody does now a days. Shy people must be having a blast seeing sunlight again, since everybody and their mothers are spacing out with their phones in the middle of the street. Same must go for pickpockets. I bet they're seeing their biggest increase in clients since the invention of baggy-pants.

Strazdas:

It is illegal to confiscate an item of your student. you can get fired for that.

I find that hard to believe. Which country are you talking about?

Liptak was previously 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.

I can't tell if I find that unsettling or funny. I'll let my dark sense win this time and go with unsettlingly funny.

PS captcha: meow meow No, captcha! Not kittens! Babies are OK, but kittens are out of question!

Nielas:

Lightknight:

Every example that the FCC lists is just regarding emergency calls being impacted.

This is something that can be managed with how the device is set up. Done properly and you can get the device to only target the classroom with minimal bleedout through the walls.

I read that in this case his jammer was strong enough to affect the nearby cell tower which is why Verizon started investigating. It does seem that this guy lacked the technical expertise to limit the range on the jammer properly. Since it was homemade it might have also hit frequencies outside the range a professional jammer would use.

Homemade jammer? Holy heck this guy should get more than a suspension. No telling what range of frequencies it blocked. The standard sort are intentionally only good for like 30 meters.

Recusant:

Lightknight:
Not only that, but Pacemaker companies actually store the pacemaker in a faraday cage that would prevent a jammers or anything else using radio frequencies (RF) from being able to impact it in any way.

So please understand that you are perpetuating a myth or urban legend here.

The major consideration is really just restricted to the ability to make emergency calls.

Didn't know that about the Faraday cages; that's interesting. I also didn't know that many models are now even MRI-safe. The days of legal requirements to put up "microwave oven in use" signs are over- but they're just that, over. My information was, as I said, out of date. It was not false; neither an urban legend nor a myth.

Actually, publically available jammers have never been designed to hit the same frequencies that pacemakers have used.

The reason I said you're perpetuating an urban legend is because people claimed that jammers do this. They don't. The way that pacemakers have been impacted is by other RF devices. Like some phones can transmit on an RF frequency so people were able to successfully demonstrate the pacemaker vulnerability with their cell phones until manufacturers learned from that exploit and added the Faraday protection.

Now, in the example above where a guy created his own homemade Jammer? Who the heck knows what range it impacts?

Lightknight:

Nielas:

Lightknight:

Every example that the FCC lists is just regarding emergency calls being impacted.

This is something that can be managed with how the device is set up. Done properly and you can get the device to only target the classroom with minimal bleedout through the walls.

I read that in this case his jammer was strong enough to affect the nearby cell tower which is why Verizon started investigating. It does seem that this guy lacked the technical expertise to limit the range on the jammer properly. Since it was homemade it might have also hit frequencies outside the range a professional jammer would use.

Homemade jammer? Holy heck this guy should get more than a suspension. No telling what range of frequencies it blocked. The standard sort are intentionally only good for like 30 meters.

Seems only the Escapist article explicitly says that it was a homemade jammer. The Arstechnica article only says that he looked online and found some sold on Amazon and found Youtube videos on how to make your own.

Still, he clearly underestimated its power if it disrupted the cell tower significantly enough that Verizon sent people to investigate. The cell network is redundant but taking out a cell tower is still bad.

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