Ont. school cuts Wi-Fi, cites health concerns
Published Monday, October 18, 2010 9:26AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:58AM EDT
A Meaford, Ont. public school is the first in the nation to shut down wireless Internet in classrooms amidst a growing debate over the effects of wireless emissions on children.
Parents of students at St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school voted "overwhelmingly" to cut off the Wi-Fi, according to a statement released by the school's parent council Monday.
"Parents voted to protect their children's health and plug the computers back in with hardwires," council member Andrew Couper said in the statement.
Wi-Fi "is something every school council across Canada should be questioning," Couper said.
St. Vincent Euphrasia is one of a handful of schools to look into a Wi-Fi ban in recent months over fears it's making students sick.
A group of Ontario parents dubbed the Simcoe County Safe School Committee believes Wi-Fi transmitters in schools may be responsible for a host of symptoms their kids show -- from headaches to an inability to concentrate -- all of which disappear on weekends.
They first spoke out against school Wi-Fi this summer, prompting government officials to weigh the effects of wireless technology on children.
Ontario Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky said in August the matter is in Ottawa's hands.
Meanwhile, Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said that Wi-Fi poses no threat to children in schools.
King said it's understandable that people are confused by the debate over the safety of Wi-Fi transmitters in schools, given the sometimes conflicting evidence.
However, King said people need to look at the weight of the literature on the topic, especially from authorities like the World Health Organization, which says exposure to Wi-Fi is safe.
Health Canada says there is "no convincing scientific evidence" that Wi-Fi in schools is dangerous to children.