Local community worker
Susan Kyle with Ian Thompson principal of
Ballinderry Primary School who is against
the idea of the school receiving wireless
internet. US3408-119A0 Picture By: Aidan
AS children across the city prepare to head
back for the new term, one local school is so concerned about
the possible health affects of the Wi-Fi network - a way of
connecting computers to the internet without cables - it has
decided not to use the system.
The Principal of Ballinderry Primary, Mr Ian
Thomson, said he reached his decision, even though the
technology has been installed, after a parent approached him
sharing her fears that not enough is known about the effects the
wireless technology could have on the children and teachers
using it. He explained: "Earlier this year the Department of
Education released funds for additional laptops so that the Year
5 children could complete computer based assessments. Part of
the deal was the installation of WiFi Technology.
"We experienced difficulties with the new
system, connections failed and a lot of teacher time was wasted
with initial teething troubles. The teachers persevered and we
succeeded in completing the assessments on time.
"It was interesting, when Mrs. Parker, a
member of our PTA, approached me with information regarding the
possible adverse effects of the radiation produced by Wi-Fi
equipment. I was left to ponder if the advantages of Wi-Fi
outweighed the risks to the children and staff. I looked at the
evidence from both sides and decided not to use Wi-Fi in our
school at present."
Local community worker Susan Kyle said that
she too is worried. 'As a parent of a child who is beginning
school next week I am very concerned about the information I
have received from scientific reports and the practices used in
other countries on the use of WiFi in schools and its potential
affect to children's health.
a group of other concerned parents we are seeking further
information to ensure our children get the best education in the
safest environment possible. There is an alternative - cabling
can be used instead of WiFi."
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he has
a met a number of parents from Lisburn area who are concerned
and confused by the conflicting information given on the safety
of Wi-Fi technology in schools. He commented: "I have helped
arranged for international experts to come across to Northern
Ireland and give a presentation about WI-Fl to MLA's and other
interested parties. I will also be contacting the Department of
Education to investigate and to provide relevant information to
provide an assessment.
"Cabling is an alternative and I think the
department should explain why it is not a better alternative to