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.

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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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