August 1, 2002
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: The Massachusetts Department of Education has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for certifying a school devoted to installing extremely loud car stereo equipment. The RITOP School for Mobile Electronics, located in Watertown, Massachusetts, proudly notes that it is “licensed by the Commonwealth Department of Education and approved for VA benefits”.
The RITOP School offers hands-on training in “the entire field of mobile electronics,” including the installation of powerful subwoofers for “competition-quality vehicles.”
“By licensing a boom car academy and making its students eligible for federal financial assistance, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is subsidizing toxic noise,” said Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America. “Boom cars, like vehicles with ‘loud pipes,’ are intended to create attention and annoy people. Boom cars are destroying many neighborhoods across the country. They are making people sick and depressed.”
RITOP opened in 1985, making it one of the oldest boom car installation schools in the country. It boasts students from Japan, Venezuela, and many states. It is located on the same block as the International Auto-Sound Challenge Association. Last year, IASCA gave first prize to a boom car that generated a nearly-lethal 176 decibels–over 100 times greater than the sound at the rear of a jet engine! Part of the RITOP curriculum is a class on the rules of IASCA boom car contests.
Arline Bronzaft, professor emeritus of psychology at the City University of New York, notes that “noise is very bad for children. It harms language acquisition, cognitive development, and academic achievement. The Massachusetts Department of Education should be protecting children from hazardous noise–not promoting it.”
Mark Huber, an anti-noise activist in Richmond, Virginia, commented that “RITOP graduates gain employment with businesses like Circuit City, which alone produces over one million custom boom cars per year. Every boom car is designed to upset as many people as possible. They disturb family gatherings and disrupt children’s study times. As a resident of Virginia, I resent this toxic export from Massachusetts.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens group dedicated to reducing noise pollution. Its web site is http://www.noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the award include Kokomo, Indiana and Youngstown, Ohio.