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Threat to move pupils over wi-fi
United Kingdom Created: 22 Oct 2009
Parents have threatened to take their children out of a primary school on Merseyside if wi-fi is installed.

Some have said they fear radiation could leave the pupils at Woodlands primary in Formby with a range of conditions, including brain problems.

The school's head sent parents a letter explaining wi-fi, which allows wireless internet access, would be installed during next week's half-term break.

He said the school had consulted the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Phil Hughes, a homeopathist whose nine-year-old daughter attends Woodlands primary, said he was already looking into moving his child to another school.

"I have carried out a lot of research into the effects and engineers who have installed wi-fi in the past have recorded suffering from headaches and other ailments.

"Many experts say there could be a link between wi-fi emissions and things like memory loss in children. We are rightly very worried and we don't want our daughter exposed to that.

"Sir William Stewart, former chairman of the Health Protection Agency, has advised schools to precede with caution when installing wi-fi because no-one quite knows the effect this amount of radiation will have on our children."

Wi-fi, or Wireless Fidelity, connects computers to the internet at broadband speeds without cables. It emits the same electromagnetic radiation as mobile phones and there has been a long-running debate as to whether these rays are dangerous.

Head teacher Simon Grilli said: "I am aware of the concerns of a small number of parents and have considered this matter at length with the school governors.

"We have looked very carefully at the advice of the Health Protection Agency and BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) which says there is no evidence to suggest it is unsafe to use wireless LAN in a school environment."

More than 30 parents have raised objections to the plans and Mr Hughes said some had also decided to take their children out of the school, which currently has 365 pupils, if it is installed.

He added: "One of the reasons we picked his school because it was not near a phone mast so we did not have to worry about radiation coming from that.

"My daughter is allowed to use her mobile phone once a week and we monitor that with a special radiation measure."

Oct 2009, United Kingdom: Parents vow to remove children if Formby school put in wireless laptops
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Source: BBC News, 21 Oct 2009

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