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North Kingstown teacher says she's being fired because she believes WiFi is health hazard

While a North Kingstown teacher says her job is at risk because she believes WiFi is a health hazard, the superintendent says that’s not the case. (WJAR)

A North Kingstown teacher claims she's being punished for being outspoken.

The issue is WiFi in schools.

Shelley McDonald believes the technology is a health hazard, but her boss claims his move to fire the teacher has nothing to do with that.

"I'm upset about it," McDonald told NBC 10 News.

Last week, the North Kingstown School Committee voted to fire her as a high school math teacher. She thinks it's in large part to views she's expressed about WiFi.

"It's a definite health concern, absolutely," McDonald said. "I definitely don't think that WiFi electronic wireless devices should be in a school at all."

McDonald said exposure to WiFi makes her sick and gives her sinus headaches.

"I've been diagnosed with something called electro-hypersensitivity," she said. "If this is happening to me, I have to believe it's happening to some of my students and I'm very concerned about that."

When asked how she would respond to someone who thinks her claims are outlandish, she said, "I understand why you think that. It's a convenient technology. Everyone has it, everyone uses it. Some people may experience effects and not realize why they're experiencing those effects."

But North Kingstown Superintendent Philip Auger said her potential firing has nothing to do with her WiFi concerns.

"It was a matter of insubordination," Auger said.

Auger went on to say he's moving to fire McDonald because she refused to follow protocols on administering the standardized PARCC test, as she was concerned social security numbers would be transmitted with the results. He also noted that he looked into it and McDonald's concerns about the test are unfounded.

As for the WiFi issue, Auger said, "It's public school. People can voice their opinion and they're welcome to do so. There's never been any retaliation. The issue has absolutely nothing to do with WiFi radiation."

The superintendent said the Council's recent vote to fire McDonald was part of the required notice process to let her know she could be fired at the end of the school year.

But he said he'll keep her on if she agrees to administer the standardized test properly when it's given again in April.

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