Keeping up with the latest technological advances is a priority for many schools, but the installation of a new, industrial-strength WiFi network is actually the reason one Massachusetts boarding school is being sued. The parents of a student at the Fay School filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying that the WiFi network is harming their child (causing issues including rashes and headaches) and that the school failed to act accordingly to alleviate the situation. The 12 year-old student in question is said to suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS), a controversial disorder that includes symptoms such as nausea, nose bleeds, and heart palpitations resulting from sensitivity to electromagnetic activity. The World Health Organization recognizes that the symptoms of the syndrome are real, but the cause of the symptoms has not been proven; double-blind studies have not proven a link either.
For its part, Fay School received a professional assessment of the WiFi network and its emissions, and the school was well within the federal and state safety limits. The ill student’s parents, however, state that the school has ignored the information sent to them by experts regarding EHS and have not allowed for reasonable accommodations to be made, such as replacing the WiFi with a hard-wired Ethernet or reducing the WiFi signal in all of the classrooms in which their son takes courses. The family is also seeking $250,000 in damages.