The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is insisting that the Vancouver School Board remove 33 “Mosquito” noise devices that target children from schools across the city. The devices emit a loud and painful sound frequency only audible to young people, toddlers and babies. They are often used to keep young people away from a particular property, but still permit access to adults.
“These devices have been found by the European Union to be a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “A teacher would not be permitted to cause pain or discomfort to a child for punishment; why should our schools be permitted to do the same to deter youth from gathering?”
Two years ago, the BCCLA expressed concern when a City of Vancouver staff report suggested deploying the Mosquito device in city-owned parkades in order to deter “vagrants.” City Council quickly quashed the idea as inhumane. To the BCCLA’s knowledge, the mosquito devices were installed in individual schools without the knowledge or sanction of the Vancouver School Board.
“Individual schools are surely solicited with unending types of new technology sold as increasing school security or student safety,” said Holmes. “Our School Board will need to send a strong message to schools that if they want to try something new that might violate the rights of students, they’ll need to get review and approval first from the public through their elected School Board representatives, they can’t sneak these technologies in while nobody’s looking.”
The Vancouver School Board is investigating how the devices were implemented, and why they were implemented without any policy discussion.