Can You See It Now?
Over the past few weeks, Oregonians have been asking questions and seeking answers as to the safety of WiFi radiation -- especially in schools. Nearly 500 people from Ashland, Eugene, and Portland attended events to find out more about health risks. They also are demanding information about smart meters on their homes and the roll-out of the new 5G technology. Communities around the state are making decisions on how to address the problem. On Monday, June 11th, I delivered testimony to the Portland Public School Committee on Teaching and Learning about the harmful health effects of WiFi radiation in schools -- especially on young children. This is what I packed into my three minute time allotment:
My name is Deb Mayer. I am a retired teacher and administrator, and former School of Education faculty member at Indiana University. Currently, I am a member the Oregon chapter of Parents Across America (PAA), a national organization with 49 chapters and affiliates in 26 states across the country. We are committed to bringing the voice of public school parents – and common sense – to education debates.
Members of the board, it has only recently come to my attention that the proliferation of computers in classrooms poses health risks to our students. The advent of Future Ready Schools at the federal level is pressuring school districts to invest heavily in technology without examining the consequences. While PAA is not opposed to the use of technology, we must insist that the issues of wifi radiation and screen time be considered when planning for teaching and learning.
Quoting the American Academy of Environmental Medicine:
The AAEM strongly supports the use of wired Internet connections, and encourages avoidance of radio frequency such as from WiFi, cellular and mobile phones and towers, and “smart meters.”
The peer reviewed, scientific literature demonstrates the correlation between RF exposure and neurological, cardiac, and pulmonary disease as well as reproductive and developmental disorders, immune dysfunction, cancer and other health conditions. The evidence is irrefutable.
This letter is from 2013. In March of this year, 2018, a panel of 11 independent scientists after completing a peer review study stated there is clear evidence that wifi radiation from screen devices causes cancer and damages the DNA. Young children are at the greatest risk for behavioral and health problems. The American Academy of Pediatricians has issued screen time guidelines for children noting that both wifi radiation and excessive screen time can cause serious harm to children.
At the first Screen Time Action Network conference in Boston earlier this year, I learned that the young children of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Silicon Valley executives went to schools without technology. There is no such option for parents in PPS. Parents must have the knowledge and give consent for children to participate in technology programs, especially when such programs have not been proven safe. It is your duty as a school board to make sure that parents are informed, have options, and that children are safe at school.
This is what I would have added if I had had more time. I would have said there is one school in Portland that has no WiFi in grades K-8. It doesn't have computers for children to use either. It focuses attention on the whole child with a curriculum that nurtures the imagination, cultivates the intellect, and recognizes the spirit of each child. In this way, children are strengthened individually and socially to meet the challenges of life.
Unfortunately, it is not an option for most of Portland's children. Parent's of Portland Waldorf School students pay a private school tuition of about $15,000 to $!8,800 annually to send their children to a school offering NO TECHNOLOGY until high school. It is an option that should be provided to PPS parents, too. The Waldorf curriculum concentrates on teaching and learning in very much the same way most parents who attended quality public schools were taught over the past several decades. If we could afford it then, we can afford it now. Parents deserve options.
Matt Damon is famously known for saying he sends his kids to a private school because it most closely resembles the public school he attended as a child. If he could find a similar public school for his children, he would send them there.
For the health and safety of their children, parents deserve to be informed and give consent for their young children to attend WiFi saturated schools. The solutions to create safe schools are relatively simple and inexpensive. Attending a safe quality public school with a fine, engaging curriculum should be the choice of every parent for every child.
Phenomenology or asking "what happened?" is a concept practiced at Waldorf schools. Couldn't we all benefit from concentrating on the detailed description of conscious experience, without demanding more and more obligatory explanations on the science of the phenomenon? It seems like the parents of Waldorf students already have.
David Morrison, a long time activist on the issue of WiFi in schools, and Dafna Tachover, global expert on the topic, also testified to the committee on the importance of hardwiring computers in Portland Public Schools as a matter of safety in the pursuit of teaching and learning. They offered to meet with the board to share their knowledge and expertise. So far, the board remains silent on the issue.