Ontario Teachers Union Wants Cellphones Turned Off, Cites Health Hazard

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has changed its policy on cellphones in the classroom after a vote at their recent Annual General Meeting decided student cellphones should be turned off in the classroom during school hours, unless a teacher permits it to be on. On most occasions students have cellphones on in their bags during school hours.

ETFO logo1

The concern by the union was related to a series of motions being voted on which wanted to deem radiation from cellphones and Wi-Fi be designated as a potential workplace hazard for teachers.

“There is cause for concern for members’ health and safety, especially women,” said Sandra Wash, a teacher representing Peel District who spoke at the meeting.

A second vote was also tabled, which seeks to ask school boards from hiding Wi-Fi transmitters in ceiling, but rather “label them as part of a hazard control program.”

The press release refers to a World Health Organization report from two years ago which declared cellphone radiation and Wi-Fi as possible carcinogens, but actually it was the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Despite the latter’s report, Health Canada is in agreement with the WHO saying additional research is warranted as the “vast majority of scientific research to date does not support a link between RF energy exposure and human cancers,” citing current evidence is “far from conclusive.”

The ETFO is Canada’s largest teachers union and represents 76,000 elementary school teachers in Ontario. What do you think? Should cellphones be turned off in the classroom?

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  • Chrome262

    Idiots, there have been lots of studies and most of the effects people see are all mental. In a few studies they set up shams where the devices got warm and blinked and people reported and showed symptoms as in other cases. Most people get worked up and think its an issue, when the truth is we have been living with one form or microwave radiation or another since the 30’s so any effects would of presented themselves by now. In fact I think the Sun poses a greater risk of cancer then cellular devices, humm maybe the Teachers union should ban the sun in the class room lol These are the people who teach our kids, we are so screwed.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    It’s probably more of a veiled attempt to get them out of the classrooms because most kids seem to have them as an actual extension of the hand nowadays not to mention the disruption they cause (as in always on the damn thing and probably not paying attention). There was huge outrage somewhere in China recently because there was a school that was giving exams and they wanted to ban smartphones because the students were using them to cheat.

  • Steve

    Being an idiot is bad for you, being taught by idiots is worse.

  • JMCD23

    I think it’s a veiled attempt too. Honestly wish someone would just outright say that cellphones have no place in the classroom, they’re disruptive and largely counter productive. If this is what they have to do to get them banned, then so be it.

  • ward09

    Stupid union. Once again teachers take a position on something, not for the obvious educational implications, but rather hokey, quasi-scientific politics.

  • Jhs Sparky

    I agree, cells should be turned off just not for the unions ridiculous reasons.