As the Surrey school district moves forward with its plan to bring wireless internet (Wi-Fi) to all of its schools by the end of 2013, one parent in South Surrey is crying foul.
Carl Katz, whose daughter attends Peace Arch Elementary school, is upset with the district's plan, citing his daughter's electrosensivity - a sensitivity to wireless signals - as the reason.
According to Katz, who is also electrosensitive, the condition means that high-speed wireless signals such as those used in Wi-Fi transfers can cause anything from dizziness to nausea to anxiety in those afflicted.
"There are kids out there who are sensitive now and most parents have no idea what's causing their child's anxiety, the dizziness, the nausea," said Katz, noting that there is also a smaller group of individuals who could be more adversely affected. "There is also a subset of people who's hearts are affected and their hearts go out of rhythm, so it can be potentially life-threatening."
For Katz, who works as an IT technician by day and is one of the founding members of Citizens for Safe Technology, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the harms of wireless technologies, the issue is about protecting his child from an unsafe environment.
Health Canada has deemed Wi-Fi safe. Surrey school district spokesperson Doug Strachan said the district, while listening to such concerns, takes its direction from health experts.
"I'm sure these parents are convicted in their concerns, but we have to carry on with our plans based on what the health experts tell us."
But for Katz, that isn't good enough. "If the district is willing to bend over backwards for students suffering from peanut allergies, they should be doing the same for kids who are theoretically allergic to wireless." firstname.lastname@example.org