Whynotwired responds to “Final Wi-Fi arguments heard”

Final Wi-Fi arguments heard By Natalie North – Saanich News Published: March 03, 2011 10:00 AM Updated: March 03, 2011 10:55 AM nnorth@saanichnews.com

“The Greater Victoria School District has no plans to remove wireless Internet from schools, following the last of three Wi-Fi committee meetings Monday. “ Read the rest of the March 3, 2011 story here.

Its unfortunate the reporter, Natalie North, wasn’t in attendance at these meetings as her article would likely have been written from perspective. There were no reporters at the final meeting and the 2nd meeting was solely attended by Focus Magazine’s reporter, Rob Wipond. See his story here.

Here’s one response to the article.

  • The Wi-Fi committee hasn’t met yet outside of the three public meetings. How can The Greater Victoria School District make a statement saying they have no plans to remove wireless internet from schools yet? Or is it that they’ve never had any attention of removing it?
  • When asked by Gregor Craigie on CBC radio if the committee’s decision could change having Wi-Fi in schools Ferris explains that it’s quite possible that some sort of change could take place but doesn’t know. He goes on to suggest the technology is here to stay, it may change, but it’s not going away. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a better understanding if there are detrimental effects. To listen to Ferris in his own words go here. So what does that mean? Presenters lined up one after the other with credible, peer reviewed studies, with evidence of detrimental effects and it seems this means “business as usual.” Sorry kids.
  • Sure the trustees had plenty of information to mull over but there were only 3 trustees assigned to the committee and one was unable to attend. What about the rest of the committee members, those representing their educational partner groups? Was there never any intention for a collaborative discussion and collective decision making before the “Wi-Fi” committee made its recommendation to the Board of Trustees? How will all trustees, who will collectively vote on this issue, have an opportunity to read the evidence provided to the committee? If those trustees on the committee have already made up their mind, what was the point?
  • Ferris states in the article that he felt anyone who wanted to speak to the committee was given the opportunity, this is false. Whynotwired is aware of at least one member of the community who was denied voice despite submitting her request to the chair of the committee on Feb 1st, 2 weeks before the submission deadline (for the February 28th meeting). This parent was not informed of the denial prior to the meeting date when she discovered it. She waited for the agenda to come out which was posted end of day, Friday for a Monday 5 pm meeting. In business terms this is equivalent to 9 hours notice, at which time this parent of two requested a reconsideration of her request. It again was denied. The reason, she had not submitted any attached documents to summarize. Her intention was to speak as a parent of two elementary students, from the heart, on the issue of non-consent as a parent to continuous, long term exposure to pulsed and modulated microwave radiation.
  • Ferris felt the formation of the committee to investigate wireless radiation concerns resulted in a positive exchange of information among both presenters and board trustees. I wouldn’t refer to it as positive. Watch the videos on this blog and decided for your self.   He goes on to state, “People were happy they had an opportunity to present to the board.” SERIOUSLY? Those at the meeting as well as those simply reading the agenda online spoke of it as a farce, full of conflicts of interest and a mockery to good governance. The impression, as this article seems to imply, was that it was a process of the school board placating concerned community members rather than having a genuine examination of the evidence, followed by prudent decision making.
  • Ferris goes on to say, “Certainly, for some of the people who presented to us, they’ve already made up their minds what they want, what they expect and so on. Whether or not you can meet their expectations is another question.” The first expectation is that the precautionary principle be implemented in order to protect employees and kids. The health and safety of students and employees should be the number one priority. It’s disappointing that there weren’t more questions asked, considering the serious nature of this discussion and the potential implications to health.
  • “Wi-Fi supporters, outnumbered by those against wireless Internet access in schools, criticized the board for being one of only a few in the country formed to investigate the technology.” Criticizing any organization for questioning and investigating a relatively new technology hinders progress and limits safety. There are many historical figures that have questioned and fought to raise the issues of harmful agents in our environments like asbestos, thalidomide, DDT, tobacco and more. Rather than focus on credible evidence, attempts were made to discredit and distract from away from solid research without justification.
  • Ferris goes on, “I seriously doubt if too may boards would take this up. I think a lot depends on your community, how interested they are or whether or not they feel they need to be informed on this subject.” Why wouldn’t a community want to be informed or interested in the safety of children and employees? How can members of the community, like this one here, become interested if they don’t know about the issue or they’ve only read the misleading statement of safety distributed by administrators?
  • No timeline has been set but it seems they’ve already made up their minds as stated above. Although you may notice the careful wording, the article does say it, the District has no plans to remove wireless internet following the last of three Wi-Fi meetings.  One could assume this means they won’t be removing what’s already in place, although you could make an educated guess that they’ll be replacing the old for new and carrying on with further installations. Does this mean further meetings of the Wi-Fi committee will simply be a waste of their time?

Ultimately we’re all left with the question,  are children protected by those responsible for their safety during school hours?

We were first warned of the dangers of asbestos 100 years ago yet the government has continued to financially support it’s mining and exportation to other countries around the world, knowing of it’s obvious devastating health effects on people. Our school districts are trusting these same governments who continue to tell us Wi-Fi and cell phones use is safe despite similar warnings and studies demonstrating harmful effects. Who do you think school districts should trust, government, industry or independent science?

Read recent news about the Canadian asbestos industry here.

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This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, Media, SD61 Wi-Fi Cttee, Uncategorized, VCPAC, Wi-Fi, Wireless technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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