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Lawsuit says wi-fi signal is making a student sick

Lawsuit says wi-fi signal is making a student sick

Parents say the radio frequency emissions from the wi-fi at Fay School in Southborough, Mass., are causing their 12-year-old son to have headaches, nausea and other symptoms.

The family of a student is suing the Fay School in Southborough, Mass., over claims the school’s wi-fi signal causes the boy to become ill.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that the family, which filed the suit anonymously in federal court, says the student, 12, suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, a condition that is aggravated by electromagnetic radiation.

The boy was diagnosed after experiencing repeated headaches, nosebleeds, nausea, and other symptoms while sitting in class after the school installed a new, more powerful wireless Internet system in 2013, the suit says.

The suit seeks an injunction to force the Fay School to either switch to Ethernet cable Internet, turn down the wi-fi signal in the boy's classroom, or make some other accommodation.

The boy has attended Fay, an independent school 25 miles from Boston, since 2009. His parents have indicated that they would transfer their son to another school if his needs cannot be accommodated, but their wish is to have him complete the program at Fay, which has students from prekindergarten through ninth grade.

The school says in response to the lawsuit that its wi-fi signals have been tested and are well below the levels required by federal safety standards.

"The school sought a professional, objective assessment to ensure that our campus complies with all federal and state regulations regarding exposure to ambient radio frequency energy," Rob Gustavson, Head of School, said in a letter to the Fay community.

A company, Isotrope, completed an assessment of Fay's wi-fi signal strength in January 2015. Gustavson's letter quoted the company's findings, which he said were consistent with the school's earlier findings.

"Emissions measured on site were substantially below the applicable safety limits," Isotrope concluded. "Moreover, even if the more restrictive safety limits adopted in certain countries, such as Italy, were applied, the RFE emissions at the School would still be compliant by a substantial margin.”

A hearing on the request for an injunction has been scheduled for early September. The school year at Fay begins Sept. 9.

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