11 March 2016
Canada: Kingston, Ontario: Teachers Union Wants Wi-Fi Banned from Schools
Kingston, ON, Canada, CKWS Newswatch, 10 March 2016
Two local teachers unions are calling on the Limestone School Board to get rid of WI-FI in area schools. The unions say there is growing evidence that the wireless technology may pose health risks. Newswatch’s Darryn Davis has more.
Wireless technology is everywhere and is part of most people’s everyday lives. It’s fairly common in the education system as well. Many high school students say WIFI access is a useful tool.
“If you like have your own lap top or something it’s pretty useful for doing research on your own during a spare or something.”
“Less WIFI routers can be a good thing because it is taking our attention away from classes but it’s also a good thing for classes at the same time.”
But the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation wants a moratorium on WIFI in the Limestone School Board. The Teacher Union’s president says there is a growing mountain of evidence that WIFI can pose health risks. Concerns that Andrea Loken is taking to school trustees.
Andrea Loken/OSSTF District President
“There are thousands of published peer reviewed papers that are indicating adverse health effects from WIFI and we are seeing an increased awareness around this issue worldwide.”
Loken says countries like France, Israel and Italy are all taking steps to ban WIFI in schools and day cares. The World Health Organization has listed WIFI in the same category as other potentially cancer causing substances.
“That’s in the same category as lead, exhaust fumes, DDT.”
The elementary teachers federation supports calls for a WIFI school ban, adding there are also teachers who suffer from electro-hyper sensitivity.
Debi Wells /Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
“Symptoms are not the same in every person because it’s not an easy diagnosis to get and when you do get a diagnosis you have to go to Toronto to get it.”
“Both teacher union leaders say their fight isn’t with the school board. They want to raise awareness over the need for a WIFI moratorium until further health studies are done, and lawmakers can catch up with new regulations.”
“We’re going to the trustees because they are the only group that can really make the blanket decision for the board.”
No one from the limestone district school board was available for an on camera interview–but they did issue this statement that reads in part.
“…providing safe and appropriate places to learn and work is a priority for the limestone district school board. Trustees understand and are sensitive to the safety concerns some community members have regarding the use of WI-Fi in schools.”
Loken says there are alternatives — like Ethernet to deliver the internet and technology into classrooms. Darryn Davis CKWS Newswatch Kingston