About this site

My name is Clint Lalonde and I live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

I started this site because I have 2 children in the public school system and am concerned that the school system they are in will become a shadow of what it can be if we continue down the road of restricting access to WiFi in schools. I see WiFi not as an nice to have or an extra to enhance education, but rather as an essential utility on par with power and heat. It is a critical component of our educational infrastructure.

I am a strong supporter of the public school system and believe we should all work towards making it the strongest public education system in the world. Increasingly, I see that threatened as anti-wifi activists advocate removing access to the internet from our schools – the one place in our society where access to high quality educational learning material is needed the most.

The purpose of this website is to counter the questionable claims made by anti-wifi activists and illustrate what educators and students lose without access to wifi in schools.

More on who I am

To be as transparent about my biases and background as I can, here are some more details about me and this site that you might find relevant.

  • I have a Masters degree in Learning & Technology from Royal Roads University. My Masters thesis was research on how educators use social media as a tool for professional development. You can read a condensed version of my thesis research in this article published by eLearn magazine.
  • I have worked in post-secondary education for close to 20 years. My resume includes work in the Learning & Teaching Centre at Camosun College, the Centre for Teaching & Educational Technology at Royal Roads University, and my current employer BCcampus where I am a Client Services Manager. BCcampus is a publicly funded  organization (funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education). The purpose of BCcampus is to encourage and promote collaboration among the publicly funded post-secondary institutions in BC.
  • I am the Vice-Chair of the Willows Elementary School PAC.

However, it is important to note that the views I express on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my PAC or my current employer. These are my own opinions.

Comment Policy

As of November, 2013, comments have been turned off on the site.

19 comments on “About this site
  1. dyr2 says:

    “advocate removing access to the internet from our schools”

    this is nonsense, from my vantage point, i see advocacy for adequate replacement technology, as in, wires

    doesn’t bode well upon exploring your website to confound internet with wifi

    • Scott Leslie says:

      Dear Daryl Vernon, you will have to excuse us if it takes some time to process the numerous comments you left all over the site. You are clearly impassioned about this issue and have been in this argument for a long time.

      In regards to the above point, if wiring schools is not financially viable, or if doing so results in far less effective pedagogic use of technology by having it used only in wired labs, on devices only of the school’s providing, then banning wifi IS in effect banning the internet. We do clearly understand that wifi and internet connectivity are not precisely synonymous, but become so if other means of access are not viable.

  2. Thank you, Clint, for building this website and for attempting to counteract the very vocal opposition to wifi in schools. The positives of mobile Internet outweigh the negatives so strongly, it never occurred to me that school boards might take this opposition seriously.

    • dyr2 says:

      Ms Novak,

      If only you saw for yourself on what principle basis opponents of irradiating children & everyone else base their opposition, you might
      add your voice to theirs. The enormous problem facing us is primarily that of seizure of process, and to correct that, very vocal opposition is needed,

      Look around this website at the responses to my comments, and you should see that they miss the mark totally. Part of correcting seizure of process can be even a wifi-proponent website like this.

    • NK says:

      Environmental Sensitivity, including electro-hypersensitivity, is recognized as a disability under the Canadian Human Rights Code. As such, all workplaces, including educational institutions (schools) have a duty to accommodate students and staff with environmental sensitivities. So I hope that school board IS taking this seriously.

      If someone close to you is ill from RF presence – you are vocal, and it’s true for every illness. What other choice is there?

      We need an option to use technology in a safe manner. Few years ago we did not know that one cannot get an education without wifi. Few years from now there will be new need for different type of technology (like fiber for example), simply because wifi infrastructure is unable to fulfil the demand for increasing traffic.

      Repeating to the EHS that they don’t exist does not make it less real only more insulting. To describe the filling, imagine that someone punching you in the face repeatedly, saying occasionally that it is for the greater good. (This comment is not necessary related to current post but to many others displayed on the web site). I have a better faith in our society. Let’s be civilized. Having a dialog and being sensitive to other people needs can lead to the great results.

      • Scott Leslie says:

        So there have been a large number of studies of people claiming “EHS” that have demonstrated that they have no ability to detect the presence of electromagnetic radiation ad complain of symptoms both in its presence and its absence. What to make of these?

        Environmental Sensitivity does NOT include “electro-hypersensitivity” as it is not recognized by medical science in Canada as a disability. As far as i know, the only jurisdiction to recognize it is Sweden.

        • dyr2 says:

          You name a study & we’ll talk about its (in)adequacy.
          Provocation studies have great problems, esp. designed as they mostly seem to have been re ability to detect mw insult. On top of that, some indeed have displayed uncanny ability to detect, bu are “averaged out” statistically. You approve of that?

        • NK says:

          Environmental sensitivities can occur when people become sensitive to substances or phenomena in their everyday environment at levels well below what would be considered to be acceptable to ‘normal’ people. Sensitivity reactions can be triggered by scented products, cleaning products, laundry detergents, paints, petrochemicals, cigarette smoke, pesticides, pets, plants, fuels, electromagnetic radiation, moulds and foods.

          A report by Canadian Human Right Commission and their policy on Environmental Sensitivities says that suffering individuals are entitled to the protection of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
          http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/research_program_recherche/esensitivities_hypersensibilitee/page1-eng.aspx

          The disability can manifest in a multitude of symptoms, often neurological. To get well, individuals need a healthy place to live. That often means avoiding public areas such as shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, libraries, etc.

          You can imagine how isolating this would be — many patients drop out of sight. So even though there are over a million Canadians with a medical diagnosis of Environmental Sensitivities, many of the rest of us don’t know about it. Those stricken simply become invisible.

          A hospital in Toronto, Women’s College Hospital, and its Environmental Health Clinic at the hospital has been treating patients with EMS for a number of years now.

  3. Shan says:

    I do wonder Scott if your information about Radio Frequency Microwave Radiation and Wi-Fi is as faulty as your information about the Charter of Rights? Well I guess I will pass on some accurate information, but don’t expect others to hold your hand all the time — it is time you did some research for yourself and found out some truths.

    Canadian Human Rights Commission
    Like others with a disability, those with environmental sensitivities are required by law in Canada to be accommodated.
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/legislation_policies/policy_environ_politique-eng.aspx

    Now here are a couple of pdf files — one shows all the studies and medical reasons which were used to prove the Environmental Sensitivities exist, and the other pdf files shows all the legal reasons
    For further information on environmental sensitivities, click on the following Commission publications:
    The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/pdf/envsensitivity_en.pdf
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/research_program_recherche/esensitivities_hypersensibilitee/toc_tdm-eng.aspx

    Accommodation for Environmental Sensitivities: Legal Perspective
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/pdf/legal_sensitivity_en.pdf

    References:
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/research_program_recherche/esensitivities_hypersensibilitee/page14-eng.aspx
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/research_program_recherche/esensitivities_legal_hypersensibilitee/toc_tdm-eng.aspx

    I suggest that you so through that website and familiarize yourself with the Charter and Environmental Sensitivities . There are 3 triggers for this disability actually – you will read that they are chemicals, electromagnetic requencies, and mold.

    You can even give the Canadian Human Rights Commission a call – it is toll free too so you have no excuse to stay uninformed and bigoted and cluttering the internet with misinformation. . Canada may be going through some dark times with misinformation these days and too many people with a mind set like yours springing up but I assure you many if not most Canadians do use their heads and their hearts.. .

    Canadian Human Rights Commission
    National Office
    344 Slater Street, 8th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1E1, Canada
    Telephone:
    (613) 995-1151
    Toll Free: 1-888-214-1090
    TTY: 1-888-643-3304
    Fax: (613) 996-9661
    Regional Offices
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/about/reach_us-eng.aspx

    Overview
    Introduction; What are “environmental sensitivities”?; Summary Guidelines for the optimization of the indoor environment and accommodation of people with environmental sensitivities are presented, and the costs and benefits of protective measures are discussed. For those interested in the original scientific and technical literature, an annotated bibliography is available on request from environmentalhealthmed@gmail.com .
    Table 1: Names used for aspects of environmental sensitivities and commonly overlapping conditions2,3*
    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/research_program_recherche/esensitivities_hypersensibilitee/page2-eng.aspx

    Shan

  4. SLean says:

    I would like to know why wifi is considered so important as an educational tool. Granted use of the computer and the internet are necessary tools, but why wifi? Studies have shown that wired is faster, more efficient because it carries more data, it is secure (less easily hacked), plus it’s safer. I spoke with a trustee on a school board in Vancouver and he said that after wifi was introduced the teachers complained about how slow the response time was and they ended up having to bring in more IT staff to try to work things out.

    The health concerns are real and justified. Swiss Com, the largest telecom. company in Switzerland admitted in a patent application that new technology was needed because of the health effects. They volunteered to remove all wifi in schools and replaced it with fiber optic cable. If you’re not convinced by this, may I ask — why take the chance with your precious child?

    • Clint says:

      First, thank you for a comment that, at least, begins to ask the right question as to why WiFi is needed in schools. To address a couple of your points.

      “The health concerns are real and justified.” In your opinion they might be, but in mine they are not.

      “why take the chance with your precious child?” is exactly the question I ask when people like anti-wifi advocates argue for the removal of technology in schools. My opinion is that removing WiFi hurts my children’s education more than WiFi does.

      WiFi is important because many devices today do not have wired connections to the internet (tablets, E-Readers, smart phones). No WiFi greatly reduces educators ability to use these tools and I think those are important tools that we should be using more in education.

      WiFi also enables movement in schools while still have access to educational resources. Wired connections mean that technology is fixed in place and cannot be moved out of context (ie a computer lab). Computers should go with kids, not kids going to computers. This is the way computers are used in real life. At work, we do not go to a separate room to use a computer.

      For more on why I think WiFi is a critical piece of pedagogical infrastructure, see http://wifiinschools.ca/what-our-kids-lose/

      • Shan says:

        You say “WiFi is important because many devices today do not have wired connections to the internet (tablets, E-Readers, smart phones). No WiFi greatly reduces educators ability to use these tools and I think those are important tools that we should be using more in education.”
        That is not a reason , at best it is an excuse, in my opinion. They can use wired computers, etc –they are not only safer and safe, their connections have proved to be more stable as well as usually much cheaper. Even just for me connecting to the internet using wireless would be considerably more expensive then what I am paying for a high speed wired connection. Seems to be sort of like the smart meter — they said customers would save money but that has not been the case . Even Dalton McGuinty eventually admitted this publicly. The industry rants about their products are not accurate.

        I am sure that with the technology available today that the telecommunications companies would be able to make those devices such as tablets, E-Readers, etc that you mentioned safe — especially since they do in Europe where they would lose untold amount of money if they did not……….They just do not have enough motivation here.I am just suggesting that we help them by giving them that motivation. You seems to doubt the abilities of the telecommunications companies – I don’t.

        If we demand safer internet and devices in our schools,the telecommunications companies will go back to the drawing board and make their products safe –or at least significantly safer. They can be very inventive when they are motivated. However it seems that the health and welbeing of its customers are not enough motivation — not even the welbeing of children.

        But even this were not true — are you as a ‘caring parent’ saying that money is more important then the welbeing of our children? I hope not as that would make you a very “unnatural ” parent.

        In Europe the cell phones are safer then the cell phones in North America because governments are “demanding” it. Cell and rooftop towers/antenna are safer in India because the government cared about the welfare of its citizens enough to pass legislature demanding the frequencies levels be reduced greatly. Yes there has been alot of complaining ……………by the telecommunications companies in India but they have complied. In Europe one does not seem to get nearly as much complaining — maybe they have more pride of self and so tell more truth? Or do they just accept that it would be pointless and counterproductive to lie?
        Certainly the leading telecom provider Swisscom now makes no bones about the health adverse effects of wireless …………

        Swisscom admits that WiFi can Harm People
        Swisscom is the leading telecom provider in Switzerland and it devised a way to reduce the microwave radiation from WiFi (also known as WLAN or wireless local area network). In its patent application, Swisscom clearly states the elevated risk of cancer and genetic damage from the constant low level microwave/RF exposure from WiFi.
        http://www.safeschool.ca/Swisscom__WiFi_Harms.html

        Ban mobile phones and wireless networks in schools, say European leaders
        http://www.safeschool.ca/Council_of_Europe.html

        • Scott Leslie says:

          Shan, this comment is a clear example of why we appeal to expertise over the opinions of lay people, as it is rife with mistakes.

          “Even just for me connecting to the internet using wireless would be considerably more expensive then what I am paying for a high speed wired connection.” – What? If, for instance, you get your Internet from Telus, the router which provides your wired connection IS a wifi router too. If you get it from Shaw then you’d need to provide the wifi router yourself – maybe $39 total outlay.

          “I am sure that with the technology available today that the telecommunications companies would be able to make those devices such as tablets, E-Readers, etc that you mentioned safe — especially since they do in Europe where they would lose untold amount of money if they did not……” Please show me the evidence that tablets & eReaders are made to different standards for Europe. This is news to me.

          Finally, can we please stop citing the the Council of Europe statement as if it held some significance. It not only doesn’t have any authority in this area, it is not a scientific or standards setting body and as such has no transparent processes regarding rules of evidence or proof.

          “Caring” isn’t synonymous with “unthinking.” We all make choices every day, I am certain that were some of your personal ones for your children put on display, others would find things to judge there too.

  5. Shan says:

    I can’t imagine a caring parent deliberately taking a chance with the health and future of their child. You really do not come across as caring about anyone but yourself. Just for that reason alone, you are unfit for your job, or any job where the well-being of children could be an issue. Consequently .I am really not interested, nor do I see the point, in proving to you or anyone else of your ilk that the biological health effects from Radio Frequency Microwave Radiation are real. In my perception you are not a caring parent – there are unfortunately too many so-called parents out there who do not put the well-being of their children as their highest priority. If you find you can live with yourself, go ahead and lie to yourself – I truly pray you get what you deserve in this life and all others.
    I could list hundreds of studies that prove EMS is a real disorder – but why waste my time and just make you aware of arguments that will be brought against you in court? There are so many studies proving that these frequencies are harmful that I can’t remember them all — but I have to ask myself why waste my time. Not only were you unaware of the Charter of Rights which is important in Canada for any health issue but you don’t even have the guts to admit it. You think that Health Canada is credible — then read the Late Lessons from Early Warnings.
    http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/environmental_issue_report_2001_22

    And then there is the newest one which includes a chapter on cell phones and their frequencies
    http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/late-lessons-2
    Published by EEA (European Environment Agency) Jan 23, 2013
    The 2013 Late lessons from early warnings report is the second of its type produced by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in collaboration with a broad range of external authors and peer reviewers. The case studies across both volumes of Late lessons from early warnings cover a diverse range of chemical and technological innovations, and highlight a number of systemic problems. The ‘Late Lessons Project’ illustrates how damaging and costly the misuse or neglect of the precautionary principle can be, using case studies and a synthesis of the lessons to be learned and applied to maximising innovations whilst minimizing harms. .

    Part A commences with an analysis of ‘false positives’ showing that these are few and far between as compared to false negatives and that carefully designed precautionary actions can stimulate innovation, even if the risk turns out not to be real or as serious as initially feared.
    The remaining nine chapters address false negatives — lead in petrol, perchlorethylene contaminated water, Minamata disease, occupational beryllium disease, environmental tobacco smoke, vinyl chloride, dibromochloropropane (DBCP), Bisphenol A and dichlorodiphenyltrichlorethane (DDT) — from which three common themes emerge: there was more than sufficient evidence for much earlier action; slow and sometimes obstructive behaviour by businesses whose products endangered workers, the public and the environment; and the value of independent scientific research and risk assessments.
    You will read here about the high priority that Health Canada puts the health and well-being of Canadian – and just how effective they are at their job of protecting the health of Canadians.

    But honestly , I really do not expect you to read that – you are not interested in the truth. I actually feel sorry for you.

    • Scott Leslie says:

      “I can’t imagine a caring parent deliberately taking a chance with the health and future of their child.” Really Shan? Apart from the condescension, what it brings to mind is the scores of well-meaning parents not vaccinating their kids for fear of it giving them autism, LONG after this was shown to simply not be the case. Does that ring any bells? The world is full of risks both knowable and unknowable. We make calculated choices all the time, even when we don’t realize it. Your crew is trying to convince people that not only is wifi a risk, but a grave and proven one. Unfortunately for you, this is NOT proven nor generally agreed upon, and what’s worse is that by using alarmist means to fight your cause you may well be impacting the health of people through fear and the notebook effect.

    • Clint says:

      “you are not a caring parent”

      Shan, please refrain from attacks such as this. We are all caring parents who happen to have different opinions on this issue. To characterize someone as a not caring parent is highly divisive. In the future, comments with this type of gross characterization will be removed.

      • Shan says:

        I did not say that — you did . And words and labels do not make a parent or anyone caring or not — the proof is in the pudding, my grandparents would say. If a parent is caring or not will show very clearly in their actions.

        • Clint says:

          Shan, you said it right here: http://wifiinschools.ca/about-this-site/#comment-148

          “In my perception you are not a caring parent – there are unfortunately too many so-called parents out there who do not put the well-being of their children as their highest priority. If you find you can live with yourself, go ahead and lie to yourself – I truly pray you get what you deserve in this life and all others.”

  6. dyr2 says:

    Scott, you have fallen for the public misrepresentation & organized character assassination of Wakefield, too? What I think was contended was that lower bowel disturbance was interestingly involved, no jumped to conclusion about autism. I not that long ago, this is still simmering looks like even though I have paid little attention, heard even on CBC Radio a disgusting takedown of the poor man, he was given a couple of minutes to rebut the wrongful charges, not enough to counteract the disinfo compounded further unprecedentedly right after that interview as the interviewer read out something like a formal indictment of the guy. What a travesty.

    Human bodies are pretty complicated, eh? And implication of manmade emf exposures and a number of other toxic influences appear involved in autism. Read Herbert’s chapter in the Bioinitiative ’12. Tell us what you think.

    You’re stuck on the imagined “calculated choices” view of life. When you decide on one thing over another for breakfast, mentally “weighing” alternatives, how much sense does it really make to call it calculated? Risk talk obscures valuations at the root. And playing with numbers as in public health risk analysis, waving away anyone who doesn’t have the background in stats to follow the jargon, hides foundational stuff, leaving it unanalyzed, and making those who cry out appear “unscientific”.

    Rights talk is one antidote to risk talk. Why not try framing the question of institutional wifi in those terms?

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