Press Release – February 7, 2011
Submitted by: Citizens for Safe Technology Victoria (CST-Victoria)
Renowned expert denied voice in Greater Victoria School District
A Committee of School District 61 is holding meetings about the widespread implementation of Wi-Fi technology in our public schools. The purpose of these information-gathering meetings is for the Wi-Fi Committee to make recommendations to school board trustees after all presented information has been gathered and reviewed. The third of three planned meetings will take place Monday, February 28th from 5:00-7:00pm at the SD61 Office, 556 Boleskine Road, Victoria.
The Chair of the Greater Victoria School Board as well as the Chair of the Wi-Fi Committee have both stated in the media that when considering the matter of Wi-Fi in schools they’re most interested in hearing the science and what the experts have to say.
Dr. David Carpenter, world-renowned scientist, educator and humanitarian, is the Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany, New York. He has submitted a presentation to the Greater Victoria School District 61 Wi-Fi Committee as per the specifications outlined on their website (www.sd61.bc.ca/wifi.aspx).
It was requested that Dr. Carpenter be given the opportunity to present via Skype at the February 28th meeting – given the travel distance from New York – for a 3 minute presentation,which would also include follow-up questions from the committee.
On Friday February 4, Citizens for Safe Technology-Victoria were informed that the Chair of the Wi-Fi committee had stated the following, “Dr. Carpenter’s information will be provided to our committee along with other information that we have by February 14th. That is the cut-off date for receiving presentation materials for the meeting on February 28th.Unfortunately, if Dr. Carpenter wants to make a summary of his presentation in the allotted time, he must do so in person. We are not providing Skype or teleconferences.”
Citizens for Safe Technology immediately contacted the Committee Chair to respectfully request that this decision be reconsidered.
CST-Victoria pointed out that, “This contradicts the Greater Victoria School District 61 message that 21st Century Learning will provide opportunities for student learning, using technology to connect knowledge with others around the world. Dr. Carpenter is physically located in New York. For him to travel to Victoria for a three minute presentation and questions is impractical and unnecessary, given the ease and practicality of current and widely-used communication tools such as Skype. This also contradicts the principle of inclusive stakeholder input, allowing full disclosure in the process of meaningfully, responsible decision making, and in this case bringing forward the scientific evidence that is highly relevant to the district’s decision around Wi-Fi implementation and student health and safety.”
The WiFi Committee Chair responded today: “We are being consistent in our approach as we have not, and are not planning, on offering presenters to use media or other devices during their summary. If someone in your group wishes to summarize Dr. Carpenter’s presentation in the 3 minutes allotted, that would be fine…”
Dr. Carpenter is not requesting anything different than any other presenter has had access to – except the ability to communicate in real time using simple technology, and therefore the ability to respond to questions and defend the science.
If the Greater Victoria School District is promoting 21st Century Learning and all the possibilities it has to offer students, why in this instance won’t they utilize 21st Century Communication? This contradicts the District’s underlying principle to use technology to provide limitless opportunities to students to access information from anywhere in the world. Nor does it make sense, that given the opportunity to access the most recent peer reviewed and published scientific information directly from the experts, they would choose not to hear it.
District officials have stated that they do not want its students to fall behind. Instead they want them to keep up with the technological changes in the world so they are better prepared for the market place.
Due to the serious nature of this review of wireless internet in our schools, it should be expected every reasonable action will be taken by the Wi-Fi Committee to accommodate all qualified experts who have requested to present evidence on potential effects and recommendations that provide prudent direction for school officials to take until the long term health outcomes for children are better understood.
CST-Victoria are a group of parents and citizens concerned about the potential adverse health effects to students and staff in our public schools that could occur as a result of chronic, excessive exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted from wireless internet routers (Wi-Fi). CST-Victoria is calling for the Board of School District 61 to adopt the Precautionary Principle due to growing scientific evidence that supports low level microwave radiation causes adverse biological and neurological effects that in time could lead to many chronic diseases including cancer. Until this untested technology can be proven safe around children and pregnant woman there should be an immediate moratorium on any further installations of wireless (Wi-Fi) technology in our schools.
Karen Weiss – 250-721-4129 (will respond to any inquiries after 3pm)
Tammy Jeske – 250-478-9881
Una St. Clair, CST Executive Director – 604-532-1863