British Columbia Students, WiFi, and the Scientific Method

I’ve heard arguments that I don’t understand the scientific method. I do.What I don’t understand is the notion that using our children as test subjects in ongoing research into the cellular and cognitive effects of wireless technology is ok. No conclusive findings exist that prove WiFi is entirely benign.

Because an important part of my campaign as a candidate for School Trustee in School District 61 is a promise to put maximum effort into stopping the frivolous proliferation of WiFi  in schools, I appreciate the October 26 endorsement of my candidacy for School Trustee by Citizens for Safe Technology.  You can read the endorsement on the CFT website and here:

Endorsement: Diane McNally for Greater Victoria School Board

November municipal election November, 2011

Citizens for Safe Technology Society is pleased to endorse Diane McNally for School Trustee in School District 61, Greater Victoria. We support Diane in her position that schools need to adhere to a position of safety which excludes actively exposing children to W.H.O. Class 2B, possible human carcinogen, being microwave radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emanating from wireless internet routers, wireless laptops and other wireless devices within the school.

Diane believes that the risk of serious health concerns should be avoided and schools hardwired with the latest wired technology to support increased reliability and speed, increased safety and security for children, reduction of potential liability for the school and school district, and above all, hard wired systems have none of the risks associated with wireless exposure. We encourage parents to take action to protect their children from wireless technology risks, and to vote for Diane McNally. 

Una St.Clair
Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Technology Society

We need to be guided by the Precautionary Principle on this issue as there are  possible malign effects of Wifi on our young children in elementary schools. Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Provincial Health Officer appears not be be guided  by this principle when considering the  possible effects of WiFi on young children.

Citizens for Safe Technology provide a WiFi in School FAQ sheet, along with Parent Wifi Questions for School Authorities, and other useful references that may lead to questioning the Provincial Health Officer’s pronouncements.

I’m not only very concerned about the possible health effects at the cellular level connected to proliferation of WiFi in schools, but there is – not unexpectedly – a major “follow the money” concern as well.

The Staffroom Confidential blog  is an excellent source for  BC education policy and events analysis. It’s written by a teacher who previously worked in and understands  “big tech”. Pay special attention to the Monday October 24th post which opens with : “Education Minister Abbott’s plan’s for our K-12 education system became alarmingly clear to me when I stumbled upon the presentation given to the School Superintendent’s Association by IBM Canada.”

If you believe that wireless technology is not the way to “personalize” learning, especially for young children who need strong bonds with caring adults, not strong bonds with  a screen (check the reference to Waldorf Schools in Staffroom Confidential), you might be interested  this petition from Citizens for Safe Technology to hardwire schools. I signed at number 26.

The Citizens for Safe Technology site is comprehensive and provides background research throughout the site and here: http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/reference-guide-in-video-and-resources,56,0

In his letter to Superintendents and Independent Schools Principals, dated September 8 (reference number 147898) Deputy Education Minister James Gorman sends queries to Dr Perry Kendall, who has advised on numerous occasions  that we proceed down the wireless path in schools since there is “no conclusive evidence”  of harm. There are many indicators of possible harm in research available on the CFST website and elsewhere.

In Ontario, Safe Schools  reports that in Thurgau Canton in Switzerland “The Governing Council has issued regulations concerning electrosmog prevention for the administration of Thurgau canton on 2 May 2006. The cantonal schools are bound by the scope of the regulations. Public elementary schools are free to make their own decisions regarding this issue, but it is recommended that they also follow the regulations. When there is no compelling reason for mobility, a conventional wired network should be given preference over a wireless network installation.”

The UK site Wired  Child makes this statement: “The school’s duty of care means that wi-fi is generally inappropriate in school, where pupils and teachers are unable to choose to avoid this radiation. A wired network should be used instead; this can be practically as easy and is usually faster and more secure. “ As well, “UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that if parents wish their children to avoid being subject to possible risks, they should not let their children (under the age of 16) use mobile phones (Department of Health Website, 2006).  However, some schools are now buying mobile phones for their pupils to use (BECTA).”

The BC Ministry of Education’s idea of “21st Century Learning” calls for smart phones in schools. I believe this tech-heavy  plan from the Ministry of Education is another flavour of the year, and will be abandoned as “the way to fix education”, as the Year 2000 was, and as were so many initiatives that have come and gone in the ongoing dance around the issue of small classes and increased teacher time with each student.

Why is George Abbott is willing to spend millions on technology, but “net zero” on teachers? We’ll be left with a wireless infrastructure that will have  to be retroactively hardwired, and  the associated costs associated that could go into classrooms to benefit children, as well as possible health effects for life.

Will BC’s school children be the experimental group that provides conclusive evidence of harm?

About Diane McNally