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Canada-SVE parents vote to remove wi-fi

Posted by seumasach on October 18, 2010

Meaford Independent

18th October, 2010

Meaford’s St. Vincent Euphrasia Elementary School(SVE) elected Parent Council announced in a media release on Friday that its parents have voted to turn off the school’s WiFi transmitters, and connect to the internet with hard-wires.

The media release issued indicates that SVE is the first school in Ontario to vote in favour of shutting down the in-school wifi system.

“After learning the whole story about risks for their children, the parents voted to protect their children’s health,” said Andrew Couper in the release. Couper is a father of two children at the school and a member of the School Council.

Concern about the use of wifi in Bluewater District schools began gaining momentum toward the end of the last school year.

At the Bluewater & District School Board (BWSB) meeting on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 the WiFi Advisory Committee to St. Vincent Euphrasia Elementary School Parent Council urged the BWSB to err on the side of caution and remove the Wi-Fi until a study could be done on children’s long term exposure to low level microwave radiation (Wi-Fi) and the biological effects.

The group asked the board to return to using the existing wires in each classroom which would be of no additional cost, and the internet would continue uninterrupted as it was a few years ago, prior to the installation of the wireless routers.

The request to the board was denied at that time although since then the movement to pull wifi from the schools until more can be learned about the potential health effects seems to have gained the support of at least one school board trustee.

Paul Wehrle, Trustee for Meaford & The Blue Mountains told The Independent in September, that “While I suggest I would follow the precautionary principle and remove WiFi until we are absolutely certain of its safety, I am one vote among 10.”

At the beginning of the new school year, the SVE School Council sent home a microwave-exposure consent form with to all parents of students at the school. It explained to parents that although the School Board claims WiFi is safe according the Health Canada, there is a large body of science that shows biological changes can happen, especially to children, when they are exposed to low levels of microwave radiation.

The school Wifi operates on microwave radiation.

According to the press release, parents across Canada have reported that their children are developing an odd assortment of symptoms since Wifi microwave transmitters were installed in their schools. In Simcoe Country an unusual number of children have developed Tachycardia which is a sudden racing heart beat, since that Board installed blanket Wifi systems in their schools.

In an effort to assure parents all is safe, the Bluewater School Board commissioned LEX Scientific Inc. from Guelph to measure the microwave levels in its schools. However in its report the engineering firm warned that Health Canada’s guidelines only protect against heating the body from microwaves, and that no guidelines actually exist for exposing children to low level microwave radiation all day long. Studies have shown it can cause health problems and children are especially vulnerable.

The School Council provided all parents with a list of the biological effects that have been shown to happen at these “low levels” and parents voted resoundingly (88%) to stop exposing their children to the unnecessary microwaves.

Contacted by phone Couper told The Independent that 210 letters were sent home to SVE parents, and that 70 parents (33%) returned votes on the issue 62 of whom wanted the wifi turned off, and the remaining eight were comfortable with leaving the wifi in operation.

“Once parents realized that the computers still connect to the internet with hard-wires, and turning off WiFi transmitters won’t change the way their kids connect at school, they decided it’s not worth the risk,” said Couper., “Parents don’t want to wonder whether those headaches, or that nausea, or that racing heart rate is being caused by the WiFi system in their child’s school.”

The news is heartening for SVE parent Angela Klein who has removed her daughter from the school due to the evidence of health effects from microwave radiation. Klein has said that her daughter will not return to the school until the wifi system is shut down, and she is home-schooling her daughter until that happens.

A phone call to SVE Principal Oscar Burnside on Friday confirmed that the parents had voted in favour of shutting down the wifi system in the school, however according to Burnside, the school’s hands are tied and they cannot take that action unless instructed by the Board to do so.

“The school has no authority to turn the wifi on or off, that is up to the Board,” said Burnside.

“The Board has heard the will of the parents. We understand this is an unnecessary risk and we want it off. I hope the Board does the right thing now and turns it off,” said Klein.

On Sunday evening Global Television will be airing a special two-part documentary about the wifi issue and the potential health effects of children being exposed to the radiation in schools on their “16:9” program.

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