Israel’s Supreme Court Ruling on Wi-Fi in schools

The ruling states that whether it is safe or not is a “professional dispute” (not unlike agency deference in the U.S.) but that the “doors of the court are open” for students with with unanswered complaints re: sensitivity to non-ionizing radiation.

Quite laughably, the Ministry of Education had expressed to the court that hard-wiring would create a tripping hazard and that dynamic learning activities such as study groups would be hampered because it would be harder to move around the furniture if the wired access points were fixed.

As a result the Ministry asserted that the existing policy “strikes a balance between properly maintaining the health of the students and the necessity to integrate pedagogical  teaching by advanced technological means.”

The petitioners argued that scientific knowledge already exists as well as mounting evidence that children get sick because of exposure to non-ionizing radiation, and therefore the Ministry’s policy is unreasonable.  They also argued that the stated policy and actual practice differ (presumably that wired was preferred to wireless, but the court didn’t see incongruity between the policy and the rollout).  The petitioners also presented evidence at the February 11th hearing of specific students experiencing severe physiological phenomena caused by radiation exposure.

In terms of agency deference, the Court wrote, “Moreover, it is well established that this Court will not intervene in the decision of the competent authority within the professional expertise of the Authority solely for the reason that there are conflicting professional opinions.” The court also talked about how there are a range of policy options that an Authority could select and as long as it is within the range of relevant considerations, the Authority is free to act unhindered.

The Court concluded by saying, “With regard to hypersensitivity to non-ionizing radiation, our assumption is that the respondent, as pledged, will examine each individual complaint in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment.  As the respondent does not fulfill their obligations to those complaints, this court’s doors are open to the petitioners.”

April 29, 2015


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