Parents' group wants to keep Wi-Fi out of some schools
Published Monday, May 28, 2012 5:53PM PDT
In response to concerns about the unproven health impacts of electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices, a major B.C. parents' group wants to designate certain schools as Wi-Fi and cell phone-free.
The B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils voted Saturday to ask each school district in the province to make sure that at least one school at each education level has no Wi-Fi, cordless phones or cell phones.
Education Minister George Abbott said there's simply not enough proof of the alleged dangers of Wi-Fi to support the resolution.
"There'd have to be some new evidence which pointed in the direction of concern over wireless before we'd put out any directive to the school districts," he told reporters Monday.
Some parents are convinced that wireless radio frequency radiation in classrooms is causing symptoms like headaches, dizziness and reduced concentration in students, even though Health Canada maintains that Wi-Fi is safe. The World Health Organization is expected to release a report on the issue by the end of the year.
In Surrey, the province's largest district, nearly half of the 124 schools have wireless internet and most of the remaining schools are due to be wired this summer. School district spokesman Doug Strachan said that following through on the BCCPAC resolution would be a monumental task.
"The logistics would be awful tough. I wouldn't really know where to start," he told CTV News.
Surrey students have access to more than 8,000 laptops and 2,500 iPads, and district IT director Dan Turner said those devices are a key part of students' education.
"The engagement is extremely high and you can just feel that it leads to kids learning," he said.
The district says it's already using technology that emits very low levels of radiofrequency radiation and only when laptops are in use.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Julia Foy