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Ontario Teachers' Union Calls For Health-Related Classroom Wi-Fi Ban

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the frying-their-developing-brains dept.

Canada 365

New submitter KJE writes "The CBC is reporting that an Ontario teachers' union is calling for an end to new Wi-Fi setups in the province's 1,400-plus Catholic schools. The Ontario English Catholic Teacher's Association (OECTA) says computers in all new schools should be hardwired instead of setting up wireless networks. The OECTA, in its paper (PDF), said the 'safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced.'"

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Woohoo! (1)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39024991)

Hey its more jobs, right?

Call your union rep (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39024995)

On your cellphone

Re:Call your union rep (4, Funny)

Niedi (1335165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025173)

Naaaah, they don't have that, that's too dangerous... Much safer to stick to your good old wireless DECT (6.0) homephone...

Re:Call your union rep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025289)

Yeah, same frequency as WiFi, dude

Re:Call your union rep (3, Insightful)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025221)

It's all about the Catholic perspective:

1. Radio waves that pass harmlessly through your body = dangerous
2. Omniscient deity that can read your mind and plant thoughts in your brain = safe (good, even!)

Makes sense.

Re:Call your union rep (2)

danomac (1032160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025283)

It's rather amusing that the teachers aren't more educated on this topic.

There's so many things emitting RF. They're probably like a couple people where I work - they seem to think that if a device isn't on there aren't any radio signals about. I've tried to explain that even if your radio/cell/whatever is off the signals are still in the air and passing through their body. I don't understand why people can't grasp that simple concept...

Re:Call your union rep (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025325)

You're intentionally ignoring the Inverse-square law.

Re:Call your union rep (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025489)

It's called willful blindness, in the case of the teacher's union.

There's been a lot of research into wifi - not into cellphones, but into wifi? absolutely.

Re:Call your union rep (5, Funny)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025635)

Its been my experience that educators are the hardest to educate. It amazes me that they manage to dress themselves in the morning.

Re:Call your union rep (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025461)

I can only suggest that they watch out for those wired connections in case the cards are in promiscuous mode ;-)

Stupid Americans (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025001)

Can you believe that this American educators are this stupid? Only in the USA!

.
(oh wait)

Re:Stupid Bitter Americans (1)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025083)

You sound bitter

Re:Stupid Americans (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025295)

Why does it have to be this article that makes you think that all educators are stupid? This is what I do not understand about people.

If an engineer makes a bad bridge, it collapses and people die, do we look at EVERY other engineer and say, "YOU DID THIS, IDIOTS!!!"

So, why then, do we judge all educators on the merit (or lack-thereof) of a few?

Re:Stupid Americans (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025327)

Two points

1) It was a joke.
2) It was not a single educator.

But thanks for playing.

Re:Stupid Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025547)

They're not stupid. Imagine the number of Union members employeed by forced wired as opposed to wireless.

Re:Stupid Americans (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025597)

Can you believe that this American educators are this stupid? Only in the USA!

. (oh wait)

You sound distressed. Being distressed can have serious long-term health consequences. Therefore, to improve public health, these educators should be removed from this world, or at least stamped with Surgeon General's warning: "Taking This Individual Seriously May be Hazardous to Your Health".

Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (5, Insightful)

DeadSeaTrolls (591736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025005)

Take the microwaves out of the teacher's lounges.

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025021)

- make them leave their cell phones in their cars

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (0, Troll)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025037)

If you ask me, these computers are all giving us cancer too... of course, the corporatist plutocrats don't want you to know that.

Back to pencils and paper in the classroom, if it were up to me...

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025175)

How does someone use the phrase `corporatist plutocrats` and not get modded into oblivion? Is this person 12?

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025317)

You must know some 12-year-olds with exceptional vocabularies.

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025345)

How does someone use the phrase `corporatist plutocrats` and not get modded into oblivion?

Something to do with 'sheeple', I'm sure.

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (1)

trolman (648780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025217)

If you ask me, these computers are all giving us cancer too... of course, the corporatist plutocrats don't want you to know that.

Back to pencils and paper in the classroom, if it were up to me...

I think the old style chalk board is very bad for the lungs. Has the dust from cleaning erasers and general use caused lung problems? You know it has.

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (5, Insightful)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025527)

It doesn't matter if chalk dust causes lung problems, it appears to be enough if the 'safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched'. The health effects of WiFi signals has more likely been much more heavily researched than graphite dust from pencils, dry-erase marker dust or the liquid that evaporates from them. For that matter any additional un-tested off-brand pens and markers brought in from students.

I like the comments above from others. If the union is successful then also absolutely prohibit any teacher from bringing a mobile phone on to campus. Remove microwave ovens from the schools as well. If a 600mw WiFi radio on a ceiling is thought to be dangerous, then a powered up phone in a closed metal vehicle should be viewed as reckless. In keeping with standard school policies, a teacher with a powered on mobile phone anywhere on campus, including their cars, be subject to a zero-tolerance policy and result in immediate termination.

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (2)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025227)

Back to pencils and paper in the classroom, if it were up to me...

Amen! I have been visiting potential schools to which to send send my eldest child next year. They all have weekly "computer" or "technology" sessions for the kindergarteners. I ask what they actually do in there, and the answer always boils down to "using education software to practice recognizing numbers, letters, and words that could be just as well done with paper and pencils but without the development of fine motor skills that you get with pencil and paper."

Huge waste of time and money.

Re:Remove all 2.4 GHz emitting devices (4, Insightful)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025553)

hmm, you have not thought this through I see...

Sure, the children are learning the same things, letters and numbers. But what pencils and paper do not teach is the use and familiarly of modern technology.

We want children to grow up around the things that they will be using extensively for the rest of their lives. Insulating them from technology will not help them, it will cause more harm than good.

Waste of time and money? Absolutely not.

Re:Remove all 2.45 GHz emitting devices (1)

trolman (648780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025185)

Take the microwaves out of the teacher's lounges.

This would also eliminate a potential source of interference. Less things for IT to go chasing around.

Not this shit again. (3, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025013)

Do I really have to say more?

Microwave ovens haven't come to Ontario yet? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025017)

Probably the same reason the word 'nuclear' (as in nucleus') has been dropped from 'MRI'.

Well then... (1)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025051)

Ban radios, cellphones, microwaves, wireless phones and anything else that generates radio frequencies.

This is dumb beyond words. These are the people teaching our children? Could be fun in 20 years.

Re:Well then... (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025095)

Better start living in underground bunkers to avoid EM radiation from the sun too . . .

Re:Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025133)

The neutrinos are still going to get you. Safety of these particles has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced.

Re:Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025167)

Then you've got to worry about those nasty neutrinos...

Re:Well then... (1)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025113)

In Canada's defense, these ARE Catholics we're talking about. They can be a bit silly everywhere.

Re:Well then... (3, Funny)

hughJ (1343331) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025523)

They should ban the ingesting of the Eucharist as the science is still not settled on the effects of transubstantiation.

Re:Well then... (-1, Troll)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025129)

Not dumb just the ideas they are teaching.
Just look at climate change it goes by the same idea "we don't know if it is happening but we have to stop the action in cause it turns out be true"

Re:Well then... (2)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025311)

"we don't know if it is happening..."

Sorry I think your argument is a few decades late. Care to update to the current, "We know it's happening, but doing something about it would be hard"?

Re:Well then... (1)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025499)

Hi off-topic troll!

Ask relevant scientists about global warming. Then ask relevant scientists about wifi causing health issues. You'll notice a difference.

A 1,000 comment story involving global warming will pop up before too long. Let's leave this argument alone until then?

Re:Well then... (1)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025593)

"we dont know if its happening"

Are you wilfully ignorant, or just a few decades behind the ball here?

Re:Well then... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025199)

In my opinion, this is not even the stupidest thing they've done. We also have race-based schools here now. Of course, being the favoured pets of the provincial premier (who's wife is teacher) have received very large wage increases in his time in office, even as the provinces finances are being flushed down the toilet.

Actually sounds reasonable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025063)

I haven't read the article, but if it's about doing it hardwired rather than WiFi, and if it doesn't severely inconvenience anyone, why not? I don't currently agree that it's harmful by the way.

About students who may be inconvenienced by this, well, not much can be done aside from perhaps having network cords readibly accessible in common areas where laptops are used.

Has the safety of wired networks been researched? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025069)

If we removed everything that was not proven to be safe for kids, the classrooms would be empty.

--AC

Re:Has the safety of wired networks been researche (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025305)

Including the kids.

Chair ban (1)

0dugo0 (735093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025081)

What about the safety of chairs, has that been thoroughly researched? No, and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure to sitting on your ass 6 hours a day should be practiced.

Re:Chair ban (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025165)

It has been researched quite a lot, and it's been found (unlike wi-fi) to be harmful.

Re:Chair ban (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025197)

What about the safety of chairs, has that been thoroughly researched? No, and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure to sitting on your ass 6 hours a day should be practiced.

How about "for most of human evolutionary history, clothes have not been worn, and we know for a fact clothing spreads germs and head lice and athletes foot. Therefore we must think of the children and not allow the wearing of clothing in our schools. Heating bills will probably 'perk up' a bit, but..."

Not thoroughly researched? That's precious. (5, Insightful)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025085)

So a Catholic teacher's association is complaining that something isn't fully scientifically researched, documented, and proven? A CATHOLIC association? Galileo Galilei is laughing in his grave right now.

Re:Not thoroughly researched? That's precious. (0, Troll)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025177)

Damn straight. Catholics don't have the right to say anything about anything!!!! Light your pitchforks brethren!!!!!

Re:Not thoroughly researched? That's precious. (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025233)

You should do some research on Galileo he got in trouble with the scientists of his day because he was saying to throw out the teachings of Aristotle and go with some that "isn't fully scientifically researched, documented, and proven".

Re:Not thoroughly researched? That's precious. (5, Informative)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025337)

Oh, it gets better.

In Ontario, Catholic schools are 100% fully-funded public institutions running in parallel with the secular public schools. It's nice to know that my tax dollars are being used to teach kids that gay=bad, safe sex=evil and wifi=devil.

Other provinces have joined the 21st Century and de-funded religious schools, but all of the political parties in Ontario are too chicken-shit to do the right thing.

Re:Not thoroughly researched? That's precious. (4, Insightful)

Godai (104143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025363)

Okay, I know its not fun to hear, but what you think you know about Galileo & the church is more complicated and less fun. From Wikipedia:

Earlier, Pope Urban VIII had personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism. He made another request, that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo's book. Only the latter of those requests was fulfilled by Galileo. Whether unknowingly or deliberately, Simplicio, the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was often caught in his own errors and sometimes came across as a fool. Indeed, although Galileo states in the preface of his book that the character is named after a famous Aristotelian philosopher (Simplicius in Latin, Simplicio in Italian), the name "Simplicio" in Italian also has the connotation of "simpleton".[55] This portrayal of Simplicio made Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems appear as an advocacy book: an attack on Aristotelian geocentrism and defence of the Copernican theory. Unfortunately for his relationship with the Pope, Galileo put the words of Urban VIII into the mouth of Simplicio. Most historians agree Galileo did not act out of malice and felt blindsided by the reaction to his book.[56] However, the Pope did not take the suspected public ridicule lightly, nor the Copernican advocacy. Galileo had alienated one of his biggest and most powerful supporters, the Pope, and was called to Rome to defend his writings.

So while, yes, the Church did lock him up and heliocentrism was at the center of it, it was more about Galileo being stupid in how he wrote his book & the hurt feelings of a powerful man (the Pope). Frankly, no one looked good in that mess. The church was actually one of the biggest sponsors of science back then, something that rarely gets recognized because its so much more fun to set it up as religion vs. science, as if they've been in a death struggle since the beginning of time.

Re:Not thoroughly researched? That's precious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025631)

Intelligent, progressive (and CORRECT) individuals persecuted by butt-hurt religious lunatics? That NEVER happens!

What (2)

p0p0 (1841106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025103)

What the fuck is happening to my country? This is the kind of fear mongering and ignorance I'd expect from the American deep south but not in my own backyard.

Am I going completely mad?

Re:What (3, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025431)

If you thought fear-mongering and ignorance were exclusive to the American deep south and are now on the verge of changing your mind, then no, you're not going mad, you're going sane.

I doubt it'll be any more pleasant than the alternative though.

Let's be fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025109)

Let's be fair here. They're not saying wi-fi is bad. They're not saying they never want it in the schools. They're saying right now, when potential long-term effects are unknown, it might be best not to over-expose children to it.Since there really isn't much point in having wi-fi in most schools I don't really see this as a bad move. Why not proceed with caution?

Granted, right now we don't have evidence of problems caused by wi-fi radiation, so maybe they're being a little too paranoid. However, I don't see why it hurts to wait a few years. There isn't much point in putting wi-fi in schools to begin with.

Re:Let's be fair (2)

drodal (1285636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025257)

It's kind of like saying "I have a rock in my pocket, that prevents lions from eating us."

Now we all know the rock isn't preventing the lions, there are none in canada, so they CAN'T eat us. Let it go.. But letting something like that just "go"
gives plausibility to the whole "lions not eating people because of the rock stuff".

So It is bad, and it makes them look like idiots.

Re:Let's be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025517)

It's kind of like saying "I have a rock in my pocket, that prevents lions from eating us."

I want to purchase your rock.

Re:Let's be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025519)

drodal, I would like to purchase your rock.

Precautionary principle? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025111)

the safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced

Last I heard, it had been. Maybe they do not feel the testing has been sufficient, in which case, do they provide clear criteria for what they consider sufficient testing of Wi-Fi, and why they feel it is currently insufficient? Otherwise, their position cannot be falsified. Teachers who would cite the nonsense that is the 'precautionary principle,' which completely disregards the importance of falsifiability, should not be teachers. And I wonder how many of them have cell phones.

Re:Precautionary principle? Really? (0)

stevew (4845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025153)

No - of course they don't define what is "adequate" research, likely anything that agrees with their own narrative. The facts are that the research IS ambiguous. There are likely just as many studies that say it is bad as there are saying it's benign.

Re:Precautionary principle? Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025571)

1) no, there are not just as many studies saying it's bad. That fact is very easy to prove.

2) any ambiguity is really ironic anyway, as the considerable research into their Christian God has very unambiguously found no proof whatsoever of the slightest truth to it...

Two stories (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025117)

There's two stories here.

The 1st one is the exoteric "I'm scared of technology" FUD that frankly works pretty well.

The 2nd one is the esoteric and totally unpopular "I'm sick of kids playing angry birds in class" and "I'm sick of my boss (principal) and/or family and friends IMing me stupid distracting stuff while I'm trying to teach a class" and "I'm sick of the boss using this to track my every digital action and create utterly meaningless dilbertian machine generated metrics to evaluate me on instead of doing real human observation evals" and "I'm sick of square peg / round hole the silver bullet to all educational problems is just add more internet"

I send my kids to a recently wifi'd school and also have some teacher relatives and option 2 is the reason why they use option 1 as a weapon against wifi.

See, option 1 works and thats all they care about in a "ends justify the means" scenario. If blaming witchcraft or the spread of communism on wifi worked better, they'd be trying that angle instead.

Re:Two stories (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025355)

If a teacher can't identify and punish people using their devices in class something is seriously wrong. Either they're lazy, or their class sizes are much to large, or there is a problem with the administrative and parenting levels not backing them up. Like most things, it's a learning experience, kids should learn not to pull out their smartphone when they should be paying attention, and if that means having said phone confiscated for the day/week/month (1st, 2nd, and 3rd strike respectively) they'll learn pretty dang fast. Of course, that would require parents to back up said teachers instead of driving the wambulance to the principle's office because the mean teacher yelled at 'little' (16 year old) Jimmy in front of his friends.

Re:Two stories (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025425)

If a teacher can't identify and punish people using their devices in class something is seriously wrong ... their class sizes are much to large

Hmm whats the cheapest way to solve this problem. Hire double the number of teachers which at current admin:teacher ratios means hiring double the number of admin personnel in addition, or ... unplug the wifi that serves little educational purpose anyway...

Re:Two stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025585)

Then they can come right out and say that they wish to ban wifi because it has no use in the class or can be used to play around.

Re:Two stories (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025595)

What you've basically just said is that a teachers have too many kids in their class rooms to make eye contact with each one of them every 2-3 minutes, which is all it takes to tell if a student isn't paying attention and once you know that it's pretty easy to figure out why. If that's the case, doubling the number of teachers isn't just going to solve the 'wifi problem', it's going to improve education as well.

My point is, WiFi isn't the problem. The problem is kids not knowing how to behave respectfully and parents and teachers not knowing how to make kids behave respectfully. The solution to that problem isn't to get rid of WiFi so that a certain small percentage of students will have to find a different way to not pay attention. The solution is to teach the damn kids to listen to the teacher. That takes, first and foremost, constructive parental involvement; but since that doesn't seem to be an option these days giving the teachers the tools they need to run finishing school as well as a high school, including smaller class sizes, seams like a viable alternative.

Re:Two stories (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025367)

3rd story is "The administration is being a PITA, so I'm going to retaliate."

Re:Two stories (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025639)

3rd story is "The administration is being a PITA, so I'm going to retaliate."

I have relatives in the system, so I don't know if I'm skirting either a legal or cultural privacy violation, but I know of at least one situation where the union is fighting management with all they got up to and including RF exposure FUD because management and/or IT busted a teacher for unplugging an access point because kids were screwing around online instead of paying attention to her, and that results in trouble tickets and eventually trumped up accusations of "hacking IT hardware" or "intentional vandalism of school property" or however its exactly phrased. And accusations that she should have been "working harder" to police the kids, and countered with she should be able to control her classroom environment just as she's "permitted" by mgmt to control the room lights (oh how nice of them). Then add in the usual corruption, where a young hot single opposite sex of the principal teacher was not busted for doing the exact same thing, whereas the victim is, as you'd expect, the exact opposite demographic and was busted. And the race card has been released, also. Which is probably too much detail, perhaps pinpointing the exact legal case I'm talking about. So we'll stop there.

My electrical engineering response was that teacher was an idiot for playing with the connectors and cables, should have just wrapped the antenna in tinfoil or bought a wifi jammer off deal extreme or ebay.

Wifi is something that can be controlled... can be controlled in many ways, by many different people. Therefore a workplace with terminally poisonous control issues, is going to fight viciously over it as if its the most important thing to ever exist. Its like a hyper violent military battle over some ugly little plot of grassland... no one cares about the plot of land as merely a plot of land, its just an excuse for both sides to draw as much blood as possible.

Re:Two stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025433)

Angry Birds doesn't require WiFi... but I guess that stems from the 1st point, they don't understand the tech.

Re:Two stories (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025531)

Hard to tell if you're right. Option 1 keeps coming up and they always sound crazy. The only story about this that I believe might possibly be true is a community of people that moved out to the middle of no where to get away from wi-fi. I only might believe them because that's the only thing that would work if they were "allergic" to wi-fi.

I'm Surprised (4, Funny)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025127)

They didn't also require AC receptacle plug covers installed so electricity doesn't leak out of the wall sockets and give everyone cancer.

Excellent!!! (1)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025139)

Greate excuse for some defensible religion hate..... Almost therapeutic.

What's next? (1)

acidradio (659704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025147)

Next they will be against forms of birth control. Oh, wait...

The "Precautionary Principle" (5, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025157)

Honestly, I think it's time to re-evaluate the usefullness and legitimacy of the "Precautionary Principle". Over and over it's being invoke to deprive people of a known, verifiable *benefit*, in the name of unknown, unverified "dangers" - essentially "We know WiFi/whatever provides a benefit; but *someone* has made the unfounded, not supported by the evidence claim that there might be some risk of health problems, so let's deny people the known benefits in order to avoid unknown risks.

As far as WiFi - it's not like it's brand new and untested. It's been around for over 10 years now. Wouldn't we have seen (or be starting to see) any problems by now?

Re:The "Precautionary Principle" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025389)

What's the benefit of WiFi in school?

Re:The "Precautionary Principle" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025537)

One, there doesn't appear to be much benefit in setting up schools with wi-fi.
Two, it can take a long time for health problems to show up. Cancer from smoking, for example, can take decades. Ten years is a drop in the bucket. If there are health side-effects from wi-fi (and I'm not saying there will be) it could take a generation for them to manifest.

Re:The "Precautionary Principle" (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025621)

"Honestly, I think it's time to re-evaluate the usefullness and legitimacy of the "Precautionary Principle"."

Let's play safe and keep it instead. Think of the children.

Re:The "Precautionary Principle" (2)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025633)

Come to think of it, have we fully examined whether the benefits of teachers' unions outweigh the costs? Based on the Precautionary Principle, perhaps we should ban them until more research is done.

Unknown dangers of cords (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025159)

This union should be ashamed of themselves. Don't they realize the threat of all these cords that they are proposing? People could trip over them, or get wrapped up and asphyxiated with them. Won't they think of the children? All it takes is one little accident, and a little kid won't be going home to their parents. Maybe it's just safer not to have any computers in the classroom at all.

Ontario? (2, Funny)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025183)

I would expect this from Alberta, but Ontario?

Re:Ontario? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025375)

I was born and raised in Alberta and now live in Ontario, and I kind of resent these kind of stereotypes.

Ontario is by and large, far my conservative (small c) than Alberta. They're also vastly more nanny-state-ish and bureaucratic than Alberta. I also strongly believe that the school system, both grade school and post-secondary, is much stronger in Alberta. I've been to the U of Alberta and multiple Ontario Universities, and coming to Ontario felt like enrolling in clown college.

Albertans are overwhelmingly a down-to-earth, tough, hard-ball people. Ontarians are a socialist, whiny, entitlement-minded and dull bunch by comparison. Albertans take charge of their own destinies, and Ontarians whine to their governments to magically solve problems for them.

I do think this story is more suited to Ontario culture. Truly.

Re:Ontario? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025427)

Did you miss the last election's results? Ontario is only a couple shades lighter blue than Alberta. And the provincial liberals only formed the government by a pretty fine margin.

Full retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025219)

It's sad to see so many grown adults gone full retard with no ability to think out things logically at all.

This Could Become A Teaching Moment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025223)

Lesson One - How To Create A Tinfoil Hat!

Going Crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025225)

It's hard to put my finger on where to draw the line between using radio waves without exhaustive testing versus using chemicals like BPA without exhaustive testing.

I could say that there's no scientific basis for harm to come from electromagnetic waves of the strength used, while BPA had been known to be an estrogen for about a decade before we put it in baby bottles and started wondering where all the manly men went, why we invented the word "moob", and why everyone wants gay marriage.

Worry about real health risks (4, Interesting)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025255)

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but personally I'm much more concerned about the ubiquity of old lead pipes in the school buildings around here. Lead leaching into the water supply is a huge risk, especially for children, in whom it can cause learning disabilities. That's right, drinking the water in these schools is, statistically, causing learning disabilities in at least some of the students. But that would cost a whole lot to fix, and so instead we hear unsubstantiated hocus-pocus about wi-fi signals.

Re:Worry about real health risks (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025665)

Sounds like it has caused learning disabilities in the educators as well.

Another technology whose safety is unresearched: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025335)

Teachers.

I say we get them out of classrooms. I mean, they could be causing cancer in our children. I know this might seem like crazy talk, but I know three kids who developed cancer after going to school, and I don't know of any who developed cancer without attending school. And cancer rates have been on the increase ever since mandatory public education was introduced to society. No scientific study has proved that there is no link between teachers and cancer, despite the best efforts of the pharmaceutical-educational complex that runs the New World Order these days.

Wake up, sheeple!

I DON'T KNOW (0)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025339)

I can understand wireless networking in centuries old buildings where there are no service tunnels for cables or any other 'hard to reach' locations. But otherwise I suggest to go for cable if just possible. It is more secure, faster and gives much less problems than wireless networking gives.

Yes, wireless can give nice comfort when sitting middle of room or just need to pull some data. But when you have 40+ students in one room and same AP is used by 120+ students easily, network really starts crawling and fast dropping clients off at worse case (network setup).

Is WiFi a health concern? I would say yes. But would I ban it from schools? I don't know.
All what I can say is I would concern childrends and teens to spend 6+ hours a day few meters off from the AP (usually placed middle of the room on roof or other higher place on room) and when having few AP close each other, they really can start cooking those 'male balls' in next few decades... Who knows how bad thing they make in next 30-40 years....
But is it scary enough to ban that technology? No... but to limit? Yes.

They're scared of kids with cameras (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025341)

This is a Catholic school system in Ontario. Maybe they're terrified some pedophile priest will be recorded on video and streamed to the Internet. Ontario Catholic schools are home to the "largest case of non-residential school sex abuse by a Roman Catholic priest in North America". [wikipedia.org]

Alarmists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025385)

We have this type of alarmist stuff in BC too. Im thinking that the BS level has reached critical mass and is self sustaining now. Somehow the people have taken a study that claimed there "could be" "some risk" with regards to cell phones and made the jump that all wireless = kills your children. The articles these nuts make reference too have not passed or ever made it to peer review.

Much cheaper solution... (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025401)

Everybody knows that running Cat5 is expensive and difficult in aging school buildings! Instead, have every student (and teacher) craft their very own Tinfoil Hat as an art project!

It'll "protect" them from all these horrible microwatts of non-ionizing radiation and provide a life-enriching art project at the same time!

Problem solved.

The union should feel free to contact me so I can tell them where to send the check for my consulting fee.

Tinfoil hats for all students! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025417)

Or does that also stop the brainwashing waves eminating from the .......

Those who can't (think), teach! (1, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025419)

This article embodies the general tone in schools and universities over here. Profs aren't allowed to think too hard, or else they will ruin the illusion of conformity the WASPs so desperately crave.

Looking back at my education, I can think of maybe... 5 profs that actually knew their stuff. Okay, 5 and a half, because I forcefully enlightened one of them. The other hundred-ish ? Mindless imbeciles, going through the motions, reading from cue cards, collecting their extortionate paycheques. Like any organisation, the larger it grows, the lower the common denominator. Of course, the cue card readers hated the real profs like a redneck hates an educated black man. "How dare they rock the boat ?"

If they want to ban Wi-Fi in the classrooms, they can knock themselves out. It will only make it ever so slightly more obvious that our educators are a cabal of imbecilic swine.

Hard Wired IS the way to go! (1)

havoc (22870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025421)

I have to say that I see no reason to use wireless networks when a much faster and more reliable hard wired network is an option. I'm not saying they should not have wireless available, just that classroom computers (any non mobile device really) should be hard wired.

Go ontario teachers! (1)

jugs (1300439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025469)

About time, now lets get the existing wifi out of the schools as well.

tablets - less than 5 years for policy life (2)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025515)

With the down pricing of tablets and the move to open text books. Class rooms will have cheap tablet based text books in less than 5 years. One tablet will cost less than 3 text books. The choice will be easy. Tablets will be wifi connected, not wired.

This means any such wired policy and expense will have less than a 5 year life time. Lots of expense for little long term benefit. I doubt they can see the future.

Europe too (1)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025577)

There is/was a movement in Europe for this as well.

FTFA:It recommends revising current threshold values of absorption, while encouraging all member states of the European Union (EU) to “take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields.” And by reasonable, the proposal is advocating a ban on Wi-Fi and cell usage in schools

http://preview.tinyurl.com/3ezzmm5 [tinyurl.com]
http://preview.tinyurl.com/3wgd2mu [tinyurl.com]

Maybe they should stop sleeping with the partners (1)

dbateman (150302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39025615)

as well as they the human body radiates [wikipedia.org] about 100Watts or 500 times more power than the maximum allowed power from a WiFi access point. Going out it sun is definitely out as at 1kW [wikipedia.org] per square meter of 5000 times strong than WiFi that definitely going to be fatal...

What a load of Bollocks!

D.

Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39025643)

And teachers wonder why they don't get the respect they feel they deserve - go figure.

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