It could be weeks before the Vancouver School Board decides whether to plug Mosquito devices back in or scrap them altogether.
Thirty-three of the units, which emit a sound that bothers young people, were installed at 19 sites to crack down on vandalism and loitering. They operated from about 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The school district unplugged them in early March pending a review. A staff report on Mosquitoes was released at the VSB's planning and facilities committee meeting Tuesday.
It noted the units operate at five decibels above background noise, they don't exceed Workers' Compensation Board guidelines or violate city noise bylaws, and Health Canada approved them for sale in Canada.
A legal review of human rights issues is underway.
"I'm assuming we'll get the legal report prior to the next [planning and facilities] meeting, which is a month away, but we won't be rushing through anything if we don't, and if more time is required," said COPE trustee and committee chair Allan Wong. "We just got all the information basically yesterday so we still need to digest all that information."
He said it's important to weigh all the material before making a decision and to ensure vandalism and security concerns are addressed.
"We're still trying to gather information about how beneficial it is and if there are alternatives- I've heard cases where rather than sound you can have a water system, or a light instead of sound," Wong said.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association takes a hard line against the units because they target young people. The association calls Mosquitoes "rightsviolative devices."
"If a teacher were causing deliberate physical pain and discomfort to children to punish them, that teacher would be removed from duty immediately and fired. As a result, we cannot understand why Vancouver's school board would not immediately remove from service, permanently, a device implemented for the express purpose of achieving that same result," wrote BCCLA president Robert Holmes in a letter to the VSB.
The staff report on the issue states the devices provide a safer environment for school children by deterring drug use, drinking and vandalism on school grounds.
Several schools have reported vandalism problems declined after Mosquitoes were installed. Before being installed, other security measures were tried to deal with problems such as adding lighting, contracting security patrols, using on-site security guards or involving the Vancouver Police Department.
Thunderbird elementary and community centre faced problems with vandalism, drug use, threats to staff, drinking and fights until Mosquitoes were installed in 2008, according to the VSB report.
Partying at Kerrisdale annex also stopped after two devices were installed last summer, while Tecumseh annex reported problems with open drug use and drinking after hours and on weekends disappeared once a device was installed.
"Since the devices were disconnected (as of March 2, 2012) we have received reports of increased evidence of drug use, drinking, and vandalism at Nelson and Tecumseh annex," the report states.
"School staff and students are arriving to find drug paraphernalia, broken bottles and glass, human excrement, urine and vomit, on school grounds, in undercover play areas, and stairwells. We expect these incidents to increase as the weather warms."
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