Debate over school Wi-Fi reignites

Debate over allowing wireless Internet into Greater Victoria schools will take centre stage again after a year-and-a-half hiatus.

Debate over allowing wireless Internet into Greater Victoria schools will take centre stage again after a year-and-a-half hiatus.

The district’s Wi-Fi committee, established in January 2011 to investigate parental concerns over alleged health affects linked to wireless Internet in schools, will meet Wednesday night (Oct. 17).

The committee plans to review any new information regarding the technology that was submitted between May 2011 and this month. It doesn’t plan on making a ruling yet on allowing Wi-Fi into schools.

“There is no question on the table that says ‘should we or should we not?’” said Pat Duncan, associate superintendent and committee chair.

“People seem to think that there’s a predetermined outcome, that: ‘The school board is putting Wi-Fi in schools,’” added Peg Orcherton, chair of the Greater Victoria board of education. “The determination as to what would happen hasn’t been made.”

All high schools and one elementary school in the district have Wi-Fi, but the technology hasn’t been installed in any other schools since the committee was struck.

The committee set a deadline of Oct. 9 to collect new information for review. A small but vocal group of people opposed to Wi-Fi have submitted about 30 items for review, Duncan said, in addition to nearly 200 website addresses, which did not contain new information.

Committee member and board trustee Diane McNally, an outspoken opponent of Wi-Fi in schools, has brought forward her concerns not only regarding the safety technology, but also the way in which the committee was formed, with Duncan having taken over for previously appointed chair, former secretary-treasurer George Ambeault.

“I don’t understand why we’re meeting for no purpose,” McNally said. “The fact that there’s a meeting going to be held, to me would imply there’ll be a reconsideration. I question the whole legitimacy of the committee.”

Orcherton said she has empathy for those on both sides of the emotional issue.

“We have a mission statement to keep our children safe,” she said. “Having said that we live in a huge world full of new technology.”

The meeting is from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Greater Victoria board of education office, 556 Boleskine Rd.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich walks the walk on crosswalk after student lobbied for improvements

Elanor Teel approached first Saanich about the intersection in March 2017

Firefighters across the region swing into the giving season

Local firefighter says it’s about whole community

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2016

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

WATCH: Cyclist doored by pickup truck near Goldstream Avenue traffic circle

The incident was captured by a reader’s dashcam on Friday evening

Victoria axe thrower targets world championships

Former pitcher to compete at World Axe Throwing League Championships in Chicago

POLL: Are you giving to charities over the holiday season?

In the holiday rush, amidst the hustle and bustle to find that… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 4, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Battle over Saanich’s Haro Woods not yet over, says report

Draft management plan calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 to improve area

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

Most Read