photo credit: theguardian.com
What are we doing to our kids? How healthy is it for them to sit in a classroom with wireless devices, glowing screens and Wi-Fi routers?  With the emergence of 1:1 devices, that means up to 30 little children sitting in a room full of 30 different little screens, each acting as a router and each a source of emissions and blue light.   Parents and teachers, and even legislators are starting to ask questions.  Maryland has a bill which proposes to study screen use in the classroom and ultimately set guidelines and best practices.  We hope that you will join us in asking them to support this bill, for the sake and well-being of all children.  –Contact information and details here (email addresses listed below).

A parent’s open letter to the Maryland legislature

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February 19, 2017
Dear Chair and Vice Chair of the Maryland Ways and Means Committee, Delegate Kaiser and Delegate Turner, and bill Sponsor, Delegate Arentz,
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I am writing as a parent and asking for your support of HB866 Primary and Secondary Education – Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures – Digital Devices. The bill:
Requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in consultation with the State Department of Education, to develop health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms; and requiring each county board of education to implement specified health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
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Parents send their children to school under the expectation that their children will be safe.   There is mounting evidence that exposure to screens and wireless digital devices have very concerning health risks.  Parents are concerned about the increase in screen time in schools. There many well documented studies showing extended screen time leads to “rapid proliferation of myopia”, concern of macular degeneration from UV blue light emissions generated by screens, with children being more susceptible to this blue light damaging the back of their eyes,   sleeplessness because the blue light from the digital devices suppresses melatonin, behavior changes (increase in ADHD, irritability) and even screen addiction. There needs to be study,  measuring amounts of exposure and radiation emitted from multiple wireless devices in the classroom.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s largest group of children’s doctors responded to a new government study linking cell phone radiation to cancer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued specific recommendations to reduce wireless cell phone exposure and updated their online resources for parents concerning cell phones and wireless devices.
“For children the cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue-damaging agents. Based on this new information, regulatory agencies need to make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially limit or avoid use of cell phones by children.” -American Academy of Pediatrics, Sept. 2016 http://www.releasewire.com/press-releases/american-academy-of-pediatrics-issues-new-recommendations-to-reduce-exposure-to-cell-phones-726805.htm  
FACT: Cellphones and  wireless  devices, laptops, chromebooks, ipads, act as wireless routers, and do emit radiation.  Read the manufacturers’ warning labels.  http://showthefineprint.org/see-the-fine-print
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Knowing that cellphones* and wireless devices emit radiation, and the largest group of children’s doctors in the nation recommend study and limiting children’s exposure,  why are we subjecting children to more, not less, of  this type of danger in school?
*Let me add that parents can and often DO limit cellphone, screen usage at home. Regardless of parents’ screen time rules at home, what happens on school grounds is the school’s risk and responsibility.   

If schools are promoting their use, schools assume the risk associated with screens. 

http://education-law.lawyers.com/school-law/whos-responsible-when-your-childs-at-school.html

LEARN THE FACTS about the health risks our children face because of daily screen time at school. Increased exposure to known and documented health risks, unsafe conditions and equipment at school, puts both children and teachers at risk. With no professional and uniform medical guidelines or oversight ensuring safety, this also puts school districts at risk for screen related illness litigation.
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I leave you with this quote from the AAP,
“Another problem is that the cell phone radiation test used by the FCC is based on the devices’ possible effect on large adults—not children. Children’s skulls are thinner and can absorb more radiation.”-American Academy Pediatrics
Parents urge you to do your duty, protect children. This is a reasonable and much needed; it would set precedent and help children everywhere.  Thank you for supporting HB866.
Sincerely,
Cheri Kiesecker, a parent
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Sent to:
anne.kaiser@house.state.md.us, frank.turner@house.state.md.us,  steven.arentz@house.state.md.us
kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us, bilal.ali@house.state.md.us, Darryl.Barnes@house.state.md.us, Jason.Buckel@house.state.md.us, Eric.Ebersole@house.state.md.us, sheila.hixson@house.state.md.us, Kevin.Hornberger@house.state.md.us, carolyn.howard@house.state.md.us, Bob.Long@house.state.md.us, eric.luedtke@house.state.md.us, nick.mosby@house.state.md.us, Edith.Patterson@house.state.md.us, Teresa.Reilly@house.state.md.us, April.Rose@house.state.md.us, Haven.Shoemaker@house.state.md.us, Meagan.Simonaire@house.state.md.us, Jimmy.Tarlau@house.state.md.us, jay.walker@house.state.md.us, mary.washington@house.state.md.us, alonzo.washington@house.state.md.us, jheanelle.wilkins@house.state.md.us, screensandkids@gmail.com

Cheri Kiesecker