The Elephant in the Classroom

Opinion/Viewpoint/Letter to the Editor:

by Mary Adkins, M.Ed.

I’m writing in response to a recent television news story (Turn to 10/NBC News Brian Crandall) about North Kingstown teacher Shelley McDonald. She is the teacher the NK School Committee recently voted to fire, supposedly for insubordination:
Contrary to the school’s position, the fact pattern suggests (and I’m sure every teacher attending the school committee meeting would concur) that Ms. McDonald is actually being retaliated against for bringing concerns about the health hazards of WiFi to the attention of the public.

I am intimately familiar with this issue (and the retaliation that goes along with speaking out about it) as my own two children were irreparably harmed after industrial strength wireless networks were installed in their public charter and public district schools here in Rhode Island. These installations were accomplished without parental notification about the class 2b carcinogen (electromagnetic radiation) being emitted by the WiFi access points and other wireless devices (laptops, SmartBoards, etc.). Parents were never given the facts about these installations, and as a result it took a long time to make the connection between the progression of my children’s symptoms and the radiation being emitted by the wireless devices in their schools. Unfortunately by the time the pieces of the puzzle fit together, the damage was already done and my kids had developed what I’ve been told will be a lifelong, permanent and disabling sensitivity.

Potentially life threatening symptoms can result in a person who is reactive to wireless radiation, including (but not limited to) an allergic-like mast cell/histamine response which leads to excessive production of thick mucus that clogs the airway and digestive tract, interfering with normal respiratory and digestive functioning. Emerging evidences suggests cardiac effects from the mast cell response as well. The standard, knee-jerk public response (promulgated by well funded industry spinmasters) include “tin foil hat” comments and outright ridicule when it is suggested people can be made sick by wireless radiation. The harsh reality is that those who are affected–very often children and teachers, because of their chronic exposure—are experiencing disabling asthmatic-like episodes, immunological dysfunction, chronic sinusitis, choking/anaphylaxsis, respiratory infection, digestive problems, seizures, strokes, heart arrhythmia, neurological damage and more after exposures of high enough intensity or duration. This is no laughing matter, and it’s not a matter of opinion but a matter of scientific fact, as inconvenient as this may be for those who are helplessly addicted to their wireless gadgets.

The mast cell/histamine response to electromagnetic radiation is well documented by Olle Johansson, PhD of the prestigious Karolinska Institute, which awards the Nobel prize for medicine. Similar mast cell response symptoms have been reported by parents across the country who claim the onset of their children’s respiratory, digestive, neurological, and/or cardiac problems began after installation of WiFi networks in their children’s schools. Onset of heart arrhythmia upon exposure to 2.45 GHz radiation (same frequency as WiFi) has been noted by researcher Magda Havas, PhD of Trent University in her published research, something that should give parents grave cause for concern considering defibrillators are now a standard fixture in all our schools.

Having worked for the Department of Defense as a conscientious servant of the public trust, I grew deeply disturbed as I uncovered more and more scientific studies disproving the common myth (perpetuated by the schools) that WiFi is “safe,” research I undertook after my own children became sick. I realized very quickly that school officials had not done their homework before rolling out this technology in our schools. Just because something is popular, convenient, and offered for sale does not mean it is safe—think about the damage done by Big Tobacco, Lead Paint, Asbestos, and pesticides over the last century. My personal research confirmed what scientists worldwide have known for many decades—that the pulse modulated, radio frequency/microwaves being emitted by these wireless access points and other wireless devices (including cell phones and wireless utility AMR and AMI “smart” meters) are not safe at all. These devices are actually, one could argue, emitting the equivalent of weapons-grade microwaves, and people are consistently reporting symptoms that would tend to validate that description.

In the case of WiFi in schools those emissions are effectively irradiating our children and school staff all day long, whether wireless devices (laptops, iPads, SmartBoards, etc.) are in use or not because the wireless access points emit radiation 24/7. And even more absurdly, these devices have been installed (in the form of wireless routers/access points) literally over the heads of our children and teachers in the classroom. After my two children were made irreversibly ill from the radiation produced by the WiFi networks in their school, I attempted to prevent others from suffering the same fate. I approached our Superintendent, the School Committee, then-Commissioner of RI Department of Education, Deborah Gist, as well as the RI Dept. of Health with stacks of research, imploring them all to take action. ALL of these individuals/agencies seemingly ignored my concerns, along with the overwhelming evidence of harm I provided to them. Instead of taking action they installed more WiFi, and sought out additional taxpayer dollars to do it.

To the best of my knowledge, not once did any of these school officials consult with the scientists whose contact information I provided to them, with the exception of one former school committee member (a scientist himself) who it appeared recognized the harm that was being done after reviewing the studies I provided. He said he would try to “mitigate the damage,” but subsequently lost his bid for re-election. I was eventually forced to remove my children from school after officials committed what one could argue are unlawful acts, namely discriminating against my children and refusing to accommodate their disability (a disability which one could argue THEY created) in order that my children could safely access their education.

Do you suppose this apparent local and statewide systematic collusion to ignore the “canaries in the coal mine” is due to the fact that these schools received millions in free federal funds as part of the Race to the Top and E-Rate programs? Not to mention all the local and state funds that were sought in support of the Wireless Classroom Initiative, even though the fact pattern suggests that by this time local school officials and former RIDE Commissioner Deborah Gist were all well aware that the “canaries” were starting to fall. Why would any responsible public official add more WiFi when children were already getting sick and there were decades of research to substantiate the harm being done by this technology?

One could argue it was because school officials didn’t want to turn away those free funds, nor did they want to admit that they may have been negligent in installing this technology in the first place. You see, many of these same officials have received lucrative bonuses, promotions, and career accolades for building up these “state-of-the-art” wireless networks. Most have built their career legacies on the premise that wireless technology is “necessary” and “safe” (neither of which are true, based on what I’ve learned). So while technology certainly has its place at school, WiFi is simply a MEANS of access—it is NOT a necessity.

That access can be achieved safely, readily, and much more inexpensively via hardwired computer connections that were already in place and have been successfully used for many years. Yet the “modus operandi” amongst school officials seems to be denial of the harm (is this to avoid liability?) as well as perpetuation of the telecom-promoted myth that WiFi is necessary and children can’t be educated without it. Was this done to justify spending taxpayer dollars for something our kids don’t actually need, while reaping the personal financial benefits that resulted from moving forward with these wireless initiatives? One also has to ask: Did RIDOH help perpetuate this fraud because they mistakenly turned a blind eye during a pivotal moment when the harm was brought to their attention and something could have/should have been done? Or does RIDOH really know better than all the top scientists in this field? Which ones did they consult? I’m guessing it was none of them, which might explain why I’ve seen no signed affidavit from RIDOH to date that confirms the unequivocal safety of WiFi.

This denial on the part of school and state officials is happening all over the country as children and teachers continue to report they are getting sick from WiFi. See Child G vs. Fay School in Massachusetts, which will be headed to trial in August:
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is obviously a growing, nationwide problem, as evidenced by the huge numbers of organizations that have sprung up in support of people who are suffering, as well as a special forum recently held by our own RI Governor’s Commission on Disabilities this past August.

The RIGCD forum was specifically scheduled to accommodate and hear the concerns of the growing numbers of people who have become disabled by their exposure to wireless devices (many of them unknowingly exposed in the workplace, like NK teacher Ms. McDonald). People are becoming sick because most employers (particularly schools) have NOT duly informed employees that WiFi networks emit potentially hazardous levels of electromagnetic radiation, a notification that seems to be required by law under the RI Hazardous Substances Right-to-Know Act (see R.I.G.L. §28-21-2(13). When brought to the attention of the RI Dept. of Labor, however (by myself), nothing was done. In the meantime I’ve watched Ms. McDonald and countless children and teachers develop symptoms of electrosensitivity.

Radiation generated by wireless devices is a class 2b carcinogen, designated as such by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). By the same token, parents are not being informed of the toxic school environment that their children are being subjected to every day either, so they don’t make the connection between their children’s symptoms and the exposure to WiFi. See dosimeter results from a child’s typical school day here and learn about what kinds of symptoms can result from exposure:

Who exactly is going to foot the bill for the incalculable damage that is being done? I can assure you it won’t be the schools’ insurance companies, as they will not cover injuries caused by wireless electromagnetic radiation. No, it will be the taxpayer who gets left holding the bag—taxpayers like you and me:

For the past six years, the fact pattern suggests there is a systematic coverup taking place at a local and state level. This coverup is being perpetrated by both local and state officials on the issue of WiFi in schools, not just in North Kingstown but throughout the state and across the country. The public trust is being egregiously violated as the equivalent of a slow-motion genocide is carried out in plain sight, all under the guise of wanting to provide your child with a “21st Century education.” Unfortunately that “21st Century education” comes at a very steep price for our children and teachers, one that is frankly not worth dying for.

“Alarming” rates of chronic absenteeism at the high school have been reported in my local paper, and I’m aware there are growing numbers of children being forced into home based instruction and/or dis enrolling (attending home school or private school) due to illness and/or inability to function in the school environment. Rates of ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders are skyrocketing. I receive numerous reports from other parents, as well as my children’s friends (who are still in school), that large numbers of students are suffering from headaches/migraines, cognitive deficits, attention difficulties, heart arrhythmia, nausea, dizziness, respiratory symptoms, digestive problems, fatigue, and more in our schools—all are symptoms consistent with microwave sickness/electrosensitivity. The same symptom pattern is being reported by teachers, such as Ms. McDonald.

Along with growing reports of sick children, five teachers/staff members have died in my local high school since I first brought my concerns about WiFi to my local school district here in South Kingstown. I want to know why these teachers are dying, and why my tax dollars are being used to support a technology that scientists worldwide claim is not safe. One of those teachers was my neighbor (a 35 year old mother of three). She relayed to me a long list of her symptoms that I clearly recognized to be consistent with microwave sickness, but by that time she already had cancer. She explained she had been an amazingly healthy woman—that is, until the day she walked into the door of our local school for her first teaching job, when all her symptoms began. She is dead now, and her children are without a mother. And though many have (and will) repeatedly chastise me for bringing up these dead teachers, I would argue that they deserve a voice as they are no longer here to speak for themselves. And in my mind, their deaths are unacceptable and tragic, particularly in light of the data I delivered on a silver platter to my local school officials. Data that I could argue my public school district failed to act on.

There is a public health crisis in the making, and while school officials ignore the obvious and stick their heads in the sand, the telecom companies continue to reap record profits off the backs of our children and teachers, and (one could argue) causing permanent damage in the process. Our kids and school staff are being irradiated with a class 2b carcinogen for 6-8 hours per day—such an assault on the human body is not without consequence. Electromagnetic radiation is pumping out of those industrial-strength access points co-located throughout the school, along with multiple wireless devices (laptops, iPads, etc.), all transmitting simultaneously. Interestingly though, I doubt you’ll see one of those access points installed over the heads of school officials inside THEIR offices. No, instead those access points are in the classrooms, hallways, libraries, gymnasiums, and cafeterias—places where children and teachers congregate and thus they bear the brunt of the exposure.

It’s my opinion these access points are configured, installed, and operated in a manner that is not consistent with applicable safety guidelines (guidelines which were never biologically based in the first place). Scientists worldwide agree, as does the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics. I state my viewpoint as an educated, intelligent person who has taken the time to do thousands of hours of personal research on behalf of my children—without any conflicts of interest. I come to my conclusions in light of my professional background, having worked for DoD in a capacity where I became accustomed to documenting how people bend the rules and/or look the other way, taking shortcuts that could end up costing people their lives. I state my opinion (backed up by scientific fact) as a mother who has watched her children suffer needlessly because people didn’t take the time to do their jobs properly, and I am understandably angry. And rest assured, I and the Shelley McDonalds of the world are NOT going away.

Current safety guidelines are irrelevant because they are not biologically based. Read that statement again, because it couldn’t be more clear. Additionally, there is a blatant ERROR in those guidelines (namely, the omission of the fact that every human cellular process is controlled by electrical fields). This omission/error in current standards has been identified repeatedly in the public domain, but public officials are failing to act despite this. To make it simple…people–namely, IT/engineer types without the proper, multidisciplinary training which includes biological expertise–neglected to understand that human cells are actually controlled via exquisitely sensitive electrical fields. And yet those same people who lacked the necessary skills/training developed guidelines for the rest of us pertaining to human safety, without taking those human electrical fields into consideration. Dr. Martin Pall perhaps explains best what happens biologically upon exposure to wireless radiation:

Omitting this key parameter—neglecting to consider the electrical fields generated by every cell in the human body and how microwaves affect those fields—renders it impossible to establish unequivocally “safe” levels, especially in chronic exposure situations. The result is safety guidelines that are deeply flawed and protect NO ONE, least of all our children and teachers who are sitting in this toxic microwave soup all day long. Those same IT/engineering types at our local schools (who also lack expertise in the biological sciences) have blindly relied on those inadequate guidelines (developed by their own kind) to proclaim it therefore “safe” to irradiate your child for 6-8 hours per day, 180 days per year! Is there anything more absurd than this? Yes, sadly there is: The endorsement of their actions by our local Superintendents, School Committees, RIDE, and RIDOH—all of whom are also lacking in the appropriate multidisciplinary expertise, but yet don’t bother to pick up the phone to consult with world-renowned experts who DO have the necessary training and decades of experience.

Despite Ms. McDonald, myself, and many other parents bringing all of this information to the attention of school and state officials, there has been a systematic denial of the overwhelming evidence of harm. Stacks of scientific studies (thousands of them) have been dismissed outright. School medical consultants with no expertise in the biological effects of radiation are doing (what the fact pattern suggests) is the equivalent of a 5 minute google search in order to back up their employers’ (the schools’) claims that WiFi is safe for our children, all the while ignoring mountains of decades-old as well as current research to the contrary, as well as the insistence of scientists worldwide that we are in the midst of a public health crisis like none we’ve ever seen: https://www.emfscientist.org/

Even SwissCom, one of Europe’s biggest telecom providers, admits in their own patent application that WiFi (as currently designed) is not safe:

There is an elephant in the classroom, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that school officials are playing Russian Roulette with our children’s lives. Now they’re railroading Ms. McDonald out of a job, too, simply for having the guts to stand up and bring attention to their negligence. It’s time for everyone involved to be held accountable and to stop attacking the canaries, who are, quite frankly, already suffering enough.

When this kind of collusion/coverup occurs within the ranks of the Department of Defense, heads historically roll and the people responsible are rightfully convicted of crimes and sent to jail. This is exactly where, in my opinion, those who are responsible for perpetrating this terrible fraud upon the public trust and these crimes upon our children belong—in jail. Every single last one of them, including the seemingly unethical legal professionals who stood by and did nothing, encouraging school officials to move forward with installing this technology despite the mounting evidence of harm. There is no excuse for the inaction of our public officials on this issue. History will vindicate Ms. McDonald, as well as the rest of us who stood up all along for the welfare of our children and teachers.

Mary Adkins, M.Ed.
Rhode Island Regional Director
Citizens for Safe Technology
(Former Configuration Manager, Mark 48 Advanced Capability Torpedo Program, Dept. of Defense/NUWC)