Parent Carl Katz says the proliferation of wireless communication shouldn't be in schools.

Wi-Fi opponent wants schools to be hardwired

Health concerns rejected by school district as 'unfounded'

A South Surrey parent is urging others to join a campaign to ban wireless Internet in schools, citing concerns over the well-being of students.

Carl Katz – an IT technician and founding member/director of Citizens for Safe Technology, which has been battling the installation of smart meters across B.C. – said he hopes to raise awareness about the impact of Wi-Fi in schools and encourage parents to speak out.

“My daughter, who is turning 11 in a few weeks, is sensitive to the Wi-Fi. She is at Peace Arch Elementary and has nausea and dizziness,” Katz said, noting he, too, is electrohypersensitive to the radio waves used in high-speed data transfers.

“Given that parents of children who are electrosensitive in the Surrey School District are either pulling their children out of school or leaving them in with grave concern because they don’t have the option of home-schooling them, why are there no options for these children? They just upgraded the Wi-Fi in the school and I’ve lost more than a few sleeps over it.”

Surrey School District communications manager Doug Strachan said he knows of just one case in the district in which students were pulled from class due to Wi-Fi concerns.

Strachan said many of the fears are unfounded and can be attributed to skewed information.

“There’s a plethora of information out in the Internet about Wi-Fi, but a lot of people zero in on – and have their fears heightened by – studies that say electromagnetic radiation has been declared a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. But if they dig deeper, they will see the electromagnetic radiation is in the same classifications as alcohol and talcum powder,” Strachan said.

“It’s at a lower classification than sunlight. There needs to be context for everything.”

In November, the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils sent a letter to the Ministry of Education outlining a list of resolutions from the 2012 annual general meeting – including the designation of one public school at each education level per district that is free of Wi-Fi, cordless phones and cellphones.

However, the ministry noted that boards of education “have the authority to develop policies addressing the use of wireless technology in schools and to implement the appropriate technology where it is deemed necessary to support the education needs of students.”

Katz, who first noticed symptoms of electrohypersensitivity in 2007 – including nausea, dizziness and headaches – said negative health impacts from Wi-Fi are something he deals with daily, despite ridding his South Surrey acreage of wireless electronic devices in 2008.

In 2010, Katz and other members of CST, presented their concerns to White Rock council, prompting the city to ask the federal government to review its use, safety guidelines and standards for wireless technologies. Shortly after, Katz underwent surgery for a brain tumour, which he said was “very plausible” to be the result of a decade of exposure through his work in the information-technology industry.

Katz noted Wi-Fi is used worldwide, including retail businesses, hospitals, libraries and homes, potentially making everybody susceptible.

“The newest Wi-Fi standard 802.11n has a range of 1,000 feet, compared with the old 802.11b, which had a range of 250 feet,” he said. “When I drive, there are certain intersections where I get dizzy and sometimes I feel like I’m in a fog.

“Kids shouldn’t be exposed to that for six to seven hours.”

According to the Surrey Schools Wi-Fi Installations Info Sheet, the routers used in all Surrey schools are the Aruba AP-105, which “transmits at only a small fraction of the national allowable limit.”

“An active Wi-Fi router in a Surrey school was tested with the measurement tool directly on the router and the result was equal to 1/4 of one per cent of the Health Canada safety limit,” the info sheet states.

Said Strachan: “Wi-Fi is safe and has enormous advantages. There is no reason to go to tethering people. We rely on health experts and authorities in Canada to help us stay safe.”

Despite the lack of support from the school district in removing Wi-Fi, Katz said he plans to continue sharing the information he finds.

“The Surrey School District’s plan is to divide (parents) and conquer,” he said. “But wired is far superior to wireless and while it’s not as convenient, we have to give it up for our kids. They shouldn’t be forced to be eradiated in school.”

 

Just Posted

Third person charged in death of Surrey teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

COLUMN: Policing consultations should have happened months ago

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is under plenty of pressure from residents, and… Continue reading

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

South Surrey & White Chamber golf tournie in memory of Cliff Annable

Part proceeds to benefit White Rock pier reconstruction fund

Surrey Mountie won’t face charges for scooter scuffle

The Surrey-based IIO has decided not to forward the case to Crown counsel for review

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read

l -->