Call to Action
Sometimes we are not moved to action until something actually affects us personally. I’ll share my personal experience later in this message so I can give you this good news first:
On January 24, 2019 Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) introduced a bill, AB 272, requiring school districts to prohibit or restrict smartphone use on school grounds during school hours. The bill passed in the Assembly on May 2nd by a vote of 72-0, has been approved unanimously in committee, and will now be sent to the Consent Calendar for a future vote in the Senate. Thank you to those of you who gave input to Assembly members.
If you live in California, please let your state senator know how you feel about it.
to find your California state senator’s contact info.
Now, as promised . . .
I want to share with you this personal experience with one of my students and wi-fi. My student’s parents have agreed to tell her story, hoping it will be helpful, not only in banning cellphone use in schools, but in getting the wi-fi turned off in our schools as well.
As some of you know, I have no wi-fi in my house. All my computer stuff is hard-wired, and I ask all my students to turn off their phones when they’re in my house. I’ve been teaching private piano lessons for 46 years, and have worked with students of all ages and personalities.
Recently I got a new 12-year-old student. To protect her identity, I’ll call her Gretchen.
At our first lesson, Gretchen was sullen. She kept slouching, and I kept having to ask her to sit up straight. She wouldn’t sing the letter-names of the notes with me, and didn’t talk to me except to say, “I’m CONFUSED.” She never smiled, and she acted like she wanted to be somewhere else. It was a very long, very difficult half hour.
About 20 minutes into the lesson, I asked Gretchen if it was her idea or her parents’ idea that she take lessons. I told her I would support her, and talk to her parents if she didn’t want to take lessons. She told me it was her idea. I told her I would talk with her father and tell him my thoughts. When I talked to her father he said would talk to Gretchen.
The next week, Gretchen’s father said Gretchen really wanted to take lessons, and that he told her she needed to cooperate with me. However, Gretchen acted the same way she did at the first lesson. She seemed very unhappy.
Gretchen’s mom picked her up after the second lesson, so I talked with her, and told her Gretchen seems like she really doesn’t want to take lessons. Her mom started to cry. She said, “I’m trying to get her interested in something.”
I said, “Does she use a cell phone?”
“I took it away from her. She was in another world when she was using the phone.”
“What about her classmates? Are they acting the same way?”
“Her teacher says he has this trouble with all his students, but Gretchen is the worst.”
I asked Tony Keppelman, my EMF colleague, what I could offer this family.
He said, “Tell them to turn off the wi-fi for two weeks when Gretchen’s in the house.”
I said, “But she has wi-fi in school.”
He said, “Well, at least it won’t be 24/7.”
I made the suggestion to Gretchen’s dad, and the very next week Gretchen was more cooperative during her lesson. I told her dad afterwards that the lesson was better. I asked him if he had turned off the wi-fi. He said, “Yes.”
“And how is Gretchen at home?”
It’s now several weeks later, and Gretchen is a completely different person. She’s pleasant, she smiles, she talks to me, she sits up straight the whole time, and she doesn’t say, “I’m CONFUSED” anymore.
This may not be “scientific” evidence, but it is real. It is not in the imagination of Gretchen, her parents, her teacher, or me.
It’s no secret that I have been a long-time, whole-hearted supporter of banning cellphone use and turning off the wi-fi in schools and in homes. More evidence: One of my friends teaches pre-kindergarten, and she says that last fall her four-year-olds acted like three-year-olds. One wasn’t even potty-trained. He came outside without his pants on.
to go to our "EMFs and Children/Teens" page for information about how screen time and wireless radiation affects children.
to go to our "Wi-Fi" page for more Wi-Fi information.
Please feel free to send Gretchen’s story to state legislators and members of Congress, school board members, principals, and teachers. Let me know if I can be of help. And please forward this widely.
I’ll leave you with this short April 8, 2019 article and video by Jamie Ouverson, who has interviewed teachers, students, and even Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Chris Beard about their experiences with cellphones. Very eye-opening. Click here
to read/watch it.
Peace and blessings,
Associate,Tony Keppelman EMF Services