“All parents want their children to have the best education and agree that the latest technology can be used as a great tool to spark the interest of our children. But using wireless technology should not come at a cost of our children’s health when there are so many safe alternatives available to achieve the same goal.
“One example would be the use of technology carts that can store and power up generic tablets or netbooks ($200) with pre loaded information, then the Wifi router can be turned off and hand tablet or netbook to the children! It restricts their access to the Internet, keeps them on task and does not emit microwave radiation.
“The cost of putting in Commercial Wifi Routers that are on 24/7 and supplying the children with $600 iPads (key boards $75 more) is outrageous when this technology could be obsolete in a couple of years and need replacing.
“IPads are easily stolen, or broken and can only connect wirelessly to the internet, leaving electro sensitive children and concerned parents with no good option.
“After reading through over 800 comments from the WiFi Survey [I can’t access them: “Fatal error – attempt to access unpublished file by non-admin user”] surprisingly parents felt no Wifi would mean their child would not have access to technology. Which is not true, the only question was whether the connection to the Internet should be hard wired or wireless.
- 1 out of 4 parents or 25% were concerned about the health risks associated with microwave radiation from routers and other wireless devices.
- there was an overwhelming concern about having strict control over access to unsupervised Internet. Parents are concerned about their children wasting their time with social media and having unlimited access to inappropriate material online. There is no supervision with BYOD (Bring your own device)
- a percentage of parents felt that the money used to provide the children with access to wireless Internet and wireless devices would be better spent in other areas of education that needed some improvements
- what concerns me most is the amount of parents that said they could have made a better decision with their answers if they had been provided with some information on the subject.
“This was not a slam-dunk in favour of the installation of WiFi in Elementary Schools but rather results showed how little information has been given to parents on the subject. Parents need to know children can still benefit from technology in schools without giving up all control over unlimited access to the internet and without sacrificing health by simply using existing hard wire connections.
“In closing, I would like to request that the Board implement the recommendations made by the VCPAC, the BCCPAC, the GVTA and the BCTF that collectively endorse: consultation and parental consent; preferred safer hard wired connections and software that does not require Wi-Fi; measures to reduce exposure by limiting Wi-Fi to certain areas; and the provision of on/off switches. These cautionary measures would also support students and teachers suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) by accommodating them in the educational/ workplace setting.
“To have at least one wifi free school at each level, Elementary, Middle School and High School where children who are sensitive to microwave radiation and parents who are concerned about the health risks can have a place to send their children.
“We are asking for choice and the right to decide what’s safe for our own children.”