World-first legal judgement on EHS

World-first legal judgement on EHS

Does WiFi in schools cause problems for students?

It can – and, for the first time, a UK court has recognised the fact.

In a precedent-setting decision, the Upper Tribunal of the Administrative Appeals Chamber (Sussex) determined that educators would need to accommodate a student who was intolerant of WiFi and other electromagnetic fields.

The decision is believed to be the first in the world in which a government has ordered an education authority to accommodate a child with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). EHS is the experience of unpleasant symptoms – such as headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, concentration and memory problems, nausea and digestive problems, pain, behaviour problems, depression and anxiety – when a person is exposed to electromagnetic fields.

The unnamed thirteen-year-old girl developed debilitating symptoms, including headaches and insomnia, after WiFi was installed in her school. As a result, she was unable to attend the school and lost a year of her education.

‘Our daughter was put through misery that no child should have to go through,’ her parents said.

The court was convinced that the girl’s problems were caused by electromagnetic fields. An earlier court said, ‘There was evidence from two educational psychologists both of whom found her and her parents credible in describing her symptoms. The tribunal (paragraph 47) accepted their evidence too and described her symptoms as “debilitating when they occur”, which they did to such an extent that she “was out of education for a whole academic year.” Those symptoms were not unique to a school environment. But when they occurred in that environment they arose from the school’s choice of the medium for providing education. In those circumstances, some provision is required to render the education effective.’

After five years of legal battles, the Appeals court found in favour of the parents when Judge Edward Jacobs announced his decision that ‘the local authority must secure that an EHC [Education Health Care] plan is prepared and maintained for the child’.

Judge Edwards determined that the child was disabled. ‘The child’s problem with electro-magnetic radiation affects her life generally and limits her normal day-to-day activities – the Equality Act test.’ He further said, ‘her problems with communication and making use of the computers are a direct result of the use of wifi in schools. The only solution available has to be provided in the school.’ As a result, he said, ‘I find that the child requires special educational provision.’

The girl described her experience of living with EHS. ‘EHS has dramatically affected my life, but maybe not in the ways you might think. Of course there are places I can’t go, or things I don’t have, but I live a very “normal” life in most ways. I can message my friends through email or Skype on a hardwired system as long as I don’t spend too long and I can go to school now that I have one without Wi-fi and mobile phones. Some people have more severe EHS and can’t do these things that most take for granted. I appreciate how much they suffer, but believe that even those people, can recover in a low EMF environment. I can feel things and sense things most people can’t. This has protected my health, and I like to think of it as a superpower. Of course sometimes, when I can’t sleep, or can’t go to school, it doesn’t feel like that, but in my stronger states, I recognise that it is kind of amazing. I have previously been unable to go to school, as the school I went to put in WiFi, but people fought for me, comforted me, and welcomed me, despite how weird or crazy our situation may have been. These people were my family, my friends, teachers and sometimes near strangers, and they didn’t just fight for me, but for anyone and everyone with EHS. They are the people we need more of, those with open minds and hearts. Thank you, to all of them. If you have EHS, and are struggling to stay in good health, or can’t go to school, or work, don’t give up, because everything will get better. People are becoming more aware of this condition, and even if right now it seems like nothing will ever change, it already is.’

The parents are hopeful that the court’s findings will benefit other students with EHS. They said, ‘Legal recognition that some children can be adversely affected by these exposures in a serious and debilitating way, is the first step to making schools healthier for all pupils in our digital age and allowing equal opportunities for those who are acutely affected.’

References: Physicians Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment, Media release


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