Parents Sue School Over The Wi-Fi They Think Is Making Their Son Ill
In the first episode of Downton Abbey, the Crowleys are having their ancestral estate wired for a telephone. The Dowager Countess–Dame Maggie Smith–is horrified and says she would never put one in her house because she couldn’t sleep with all those terrible, toxic telephone vapors seeping through the air. “That was such a great scene. Maggie Smith is a treasure,” I thought to myself when I read that a family in Newton, Mass., is suing a local private middle school for $250,000 in damages because they say the school’s Wi-Fi is making their son sick.
According to Yahoo Parenting, the parents of a 12-year-old boy are suing the Fay School because they say their son has been diagnosed with electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) and the school’s Wi-Fi is making him sick. Not all doctors agree that EHS is a thing, but the boy’s doctor, family practitioner and integrative medicine specialist Jeanne Hubbuch, says she can’t see another possible diagnosis for the boy’s symptoms.
“It is known that exposure to Wi-Fi can have cellular effects. The complete extent of these effects on people is still unknown,” Hubbuch wrote in a letter to the school, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
EHS reportedly has disparate symptoms caused by electromagnetic fields generated by cell phone towers, Wi-Fi at the Starbucks, cell phones, etc. Symptoms vary, but reportedly include things like headaches, nausea, rashes, nosebleeds, memory loss, heart problems, and more.
The Fay School, which appears to be a very pricey private school, says its Wi-Fi is well within safe levels and even hired a specialist requested by the boy’s family to come measure EMF levels at the school. The measuring company, Isotrope, said the school’s Wi-Fi was fine, but the boy’s family is going forward with its lawsuit anyway.
“Isotrope’s assessment was completed in January 2015 and found that the combined levels of access point emissions, broadcast radio and television signals, and other RFE emissions on campus ‘were substantially less than one ten-thousandth (1/10,000th) of the applicable safety limits (federal and state),’” the school said in a statement. “Despite Isotrope’s findings, the family that raised the issue about the School’s Wi-Fi system recently filed a lawsuit against the School and its Head of School.”
The boy’s parents are reportedly seeking $250,000 in damages and accommodations, such as making the school switch from Wi-Fi to ethernet, lower the strength of the Wi-Fi, or make some other accommodation that has not yet been specified. (I cannot be the only one envisioning tinfoil hats, right?)
The boy’s family has reportedly been fighting the school’s Wi-Fi since 2013, and the parents say that if something is not done they will have to take their son out of the school. If it does come to that, one imagines they will have some difficulty finding a good school with no connectivity, or proximity to Starbucks, for him to enroll at.
(Photo: iStockPhoto/Getty Images/Andrew_Howe)