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

First woman appointed rector at Esquimalt Anglican church since 1866 consecration

Gail Rodger is the 32nd rector at St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican parish

Saanich Recreation needs volunteers at Commonwealth Place

Welcome Ambassadors needed at Saanich Commonwealth Place to engage with, direct, and inform visitors

Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce honours former Sidney mayor Marie Rosko

Rosko received lifetime achievement award during 2019 Crystal Awards

Man seriously injured after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

Police say incident stands as public safety reminder

Sooke School District names new Royal Bay Secondary principal

Former vice-principal Mike Huck promoted to principal, effective Nov. 4

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Camera licker, wind gusts and rare bird make headlines this weekend

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read