Thursday, March 26, 2015

Concerned About the MCPS Tech Rollout ? Join Us on March 30th

Are you concerned about PARCC testing issues?

Want to know about the sensitive student information collected and handled by Pearson and other operators? 
Have concerns about the MCPS notebook rollout?
We will discuss these pressing questions and more….
With computers distributed to our students (or soon to be), it is time for parents to come together to learn about this the legal, ethical and privacy issues posed by the technology, its pros and cons, and to develop a plan of action to help our teachers planning the proper rollout strategy.
Join us for this important meeting.
MCPS parents with background in education, law, ethics, privacy, and information technology will present and facilitate the discussion. 
Date:  March 30, 2015, Monday          
Time: 7pm to 8:30 pm EST
Location: Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd, 
Bethesda, MD 20814  - Parking available on site.
AGENDA
1. Technology in the Classroom.
A.  Preparation— students, parents, teachers. 

B.  Testing—PARCC & other testing issues , safety and more. 

Organized by 
Parents For the Responsible Use of Technology in School


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

School Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi On Steroids: Unnecessary and Far too Powerfull

School Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi on Steroids.
Schools Must Take Action Now To Care For the Children
Let's Do The Right Thing For Kids!

Solutions: Here is What Every School Can Do Right Now

Two access points on ceiling at Bells Mill
1. Shut Wi-Fi Transmitters Off When Not In Use.
A simple solution that can be done right now. Flip the switch.
Why are children being exposed to pulsed microwave radiation for the entire school day when very little time is spent online?   


Schools then can call a technician today to set up an appointment to install 100% safe ethernet connections.


2. Keep Students From Sitting Too Close to Routers:
Ensure there are no students sitting right above or right under an access point. If an access point is ceiling mounted and a child is sitting right above it in the class on the floor directly above, the child is getting much more WiFi radiation than other children further away. These kids will be getting the highest radiation exposure because they are the closest. This is not fair to these kids.

3. Follow the Manufacturer's Safety Instructions:
Teach the students and staff proper use of Chromebooks and other wireless devices per manufacturers’ directions in the manual.

Manuals instruct us to hold Laptops “at a distance”.
Manuals state how far Wi-Fi device must be from your body so that you are not absorbing dangerous amounts of radiation- that exceed our outdated FCC guidelines. Devices are government mandated to be tested at a distance of  ~8 inches for laptops and under an inch  for cellphone (depends on the phone). Holding a device any closer means exposing yourself to untested levels. In fact, if you place a laptop on your lap you can get over 100x the FCC allowed radiation.  Most teachers do not know this. Most students do not know this.  Read some of the instructions  here.

The Right to Know: Devices should be radiation tested in the way kids use them... sadly they are not. The manuals warn us but no one even knows about these warnings which is why US States are introducing Right To Know laws.

The Problem: The distances in the manual DO NOT PROTECT KIDS as the American Academy of Pediatrics has detailed. FCC levels are thousands of times too high to protect kids .
A child has smaller arms than an adult and often cannot even keep the laptop at 8 inches from their body.

4. Educate Students:
Teach the children to turn the Wi-Fi OFF on their devices when not in use.  If they don’t need to connect to the internet they can turn OFF the antennas. This stops the device from constantly radiating while searching for the nearest router. For example, cell phones and laptops (even if you are not talking or using the device) emit continuous spikes of radiation, checking in with the nearest cell tower or WiFi router; this is called “the handshake.”


Then What Can the School System Do This Week?


1. Install 100% Safe Technology: Work with IT staff to install Ethernet connections for every classroom.  Safe technology allows for full online access without Wi-Fi radiation. No student will be without the internet.


From the Environmental Health Trust
2.Integrate Educational Materials into Classes
Develop curriculum to teach kids how to use their tech devices more safely.  
  • Young women should learn not to keep cell phones in their bra.
  • Kids should not have phones in their pocket.
  • Kids should not text with the phone resting on their belly. (That behavior means spikes of radiation go directly into their reproductive organs.)
  • Kids need to learn how to decrease exposure and why it is so important.


Materials exist. Why not use them?


From the Environmental Health Trust
Doctor’s Advice on Cell Phones
The BabySafe Project: Healthy pregnancy!

What Can Parents Do Right Now? 

1. Write the School Principal, PTA, and School Board. A short letter asking for safe technology. 
Please cc us at safetechforschoolsmaryland@gmail.com

2. Educate yourself about the issue so you can reduce exposures at home. Talk to your family and friends.

3. Contact us at our gmail account to get involved. Please sign up for posts to the right. We are glad to come to your PTA meeting or to simply meet with fellow parents and share this information so you can make informed decisions about how you want to proceed.

All parents need to be fully informed of the risks of Wi-Fi to make educated decisions. 


Schools around the world are acting now to safeguard  children - We can do it  too!

Please join our Facebook Page at Safe Tech For Schools Maryland
Watch the W-USA 9 News Story
(Click on this picture)


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dr. Hugh Scully's Testimony Against WIFI

Dr. Hugh Scully's 
Testimony 
Against WIFI 



(Past ­President of Ontario Medical Association, Past­ President of Canadian Medical Association, Past­President of Canadian Cardiovascular Society)




To the City Clerk: 

As a physician leader in Canada with a great commitment to the health of Canadians, I am very concerned about the increasing evidence internationally that EMR is creating increasing health problems in our population as its use increases exponentially. This is particularly true among children and young Canadians, and teacher [and nurses] who are continuously exposed to wifi routers in schools [and hospitals]. 

As a cardiac specialist, I am concerned that approximately 20% of people have detrimental cardiac rhythm sensitivity to EMR. 

This issue is under active consideration by the Health and Public Policy Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Health Policy and Public Health Committees of the Canadian Medical Association and the Council of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. There is an abundance of evidence from around the world that EMR can be harmful to health. Many countries...not Canada or the United States...have initiated policies to mitigate the risks. We, in Canada, need to do the same or more. 

It is imperative that City of Toronto does not install wifi's in public parks and spaces. I ask you to vote against  Councillor Matlow's proposal. 

Sincerely, Dr. Hugh Scully, BA,MD,MSc,FRSC[C],FACS 
Professor of Surgery and Health Policy, University of Toronto, Past­President, OMA, CMA, CCS, Former Member of Council [Board], RCPSC and WMA, Member, Health Policy Advisory Council, American College of Surgeons 

From November 21, 2013 Government Management Committee Meeting on item 2013.GM26.21 Establishment of Free Public Wireless Internet in Toronto Parks Civic.  Outcome: The decision taken by the City of Toronto Committee regarding the proposal for WiFi in parks (and other spaces) was "deferred indefinitely".

Watch the BCC Documentary on Wi-Fi in Schools by clicking on the picture below. 





Read other expert letters. Doctors are speaking out on this issue worldwide. 

Frank Clegg' Letter to Denmark's Committee on Radiation Protection
Dr. David Carpenter's Letter to Kawartha Pine Ridge District  
Katharina Gustavs, Building Biology Environmental Consultant IBN, Letter to the LAUSD that details the radiation thresholds
Open Letter by British Medical Doctors:  Health and Safety of Wifi and Mobile Phones
Dr. Blanks Letter to LAUSD on Cell Towers near Schools.







Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Keep Your Promise: An Open Letter to Technology Chief Sherwin Collette

Keep Your Promise 
MCPS Chief Technology Officer Sherwin Collette
Please Accurately Measure WiFi Radiation In Our Schools

We wrote a letter to MCPS yesterday.
March 10, 2015

Dear MCPS Technology Chief Sherwin Collette,  

Thank you for your commitment to ensure parents that the MCPS Strategic Technology   Plan is safe for students and staff. In the WUSA 9 News report you stated to reporter Andrea McCarren that you would have an independant radiation assessment done to assess the wireless radiation exposures at MCPS schools.

We are writing to ensure that these measurements are done in as transparent and accurate a method as possible. As concerned parents, it is important that the WiFi radiation is measured in a way that accurately reflects the classroom environment as envisioned by the Strategic Technology Plan.  Classrooms in Elementary, Middle School, and High School should be tested.  The classroom environment as envisioned by the Strategic Technology Plan includes Chromebooks as well as smartphones.  MCPS is encouraging students to bring their own devices and therefore we expect the radiation measurements to include this scenario.



The middle and high school assessment must include a full room of smartphones and laptops powered on. This means at least two devices per student in the class.

Radiation Measurement Accuracy

Radiation measurements must be done for classroom exposures in the manner children use the devices.  Please ensure the following:

  • Peak Exposures: Radiation measurements are done with peak numbers as well as time averages. (The highest numbers must be recorded as well as the lower ones so that we know the most intense pulse of radiation children are receiving from the devices and from the routers).
  • Full Classroom: Measurements need to be taken with an entire class of children in the room actively using their wireless devices. This includes Chromebooks, smartphones and\or the other wireless devices now used as tools in class.
  • Multiple Exposure Sources: Measure the radiation a child might get sitting with their Chromebook near a bunch of other children sitting with their Chromebooks and\or other wireless devices.
  • Multiple Locations: Several measurements at different points in the room need to be done to ensure accuracy because different parts of the room may have different levels depending on the reflective material in the room or how close you are to the router.
  • Exposures that Reflect the Way Devices are Used: Measure the radiation a child would get with the laptop on the lap and close to the body.


Liability Issues

Accurate radiation measurements are critical to assess and mitigate any risk. We are concerned about the liability issues school administrators may face in light of wireless insurance exemptions.   School officials could be personally held legally responsible for injuries from wireless because most insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for “illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionizing radiation exposure”.

  • Lloyd’s of London compares wireless to asbestos stating that “The comparison is obvious – if it is proven to cause cancer, then the injuries may not become clear until many years after the exposure due to similarly long latency periods.
  •  Furthermore, Swiss Re has classified the potential impact from wireless on the insurance industry as “high” stating that “If a direct link between EMF and human health problems were established, it would open doors for new claims and could ultimately lead to large losses under product liability covers.”
We would like to know if the MCPS insurance policy excludes injury from long term exposure to wireless.


Manufacturers Safety Instructions Are Not Being Followed

It is the responsibility of school officials to inform parents, teachers, and students about all the safety precautions for classroom tool use.  In addition to the risk from the full body radiation from industrial routers there are risks from the other wireless devices in use in the classroom.

The warnings from manufacturers in all wireless device manuals specifically state that these devices must be used at a specific minimum distance from the body (8 inches for Chromebooks, under an inch for cell phones). Children carrying phones from class to class in their pants pocket will be violating these manufacturers safety instructions. Children are also placing Chromebook laptops on their laps which could result in exposures that exceed FCC regulations by 100 times.

We sent this wireless safety information and specific recommendations to to MCPS and to the Department of Health Education on September 3 2014 as public comment on the Secondary Comprehensive Health Education Curriculum Framework.

However, we are unaware of the school system including these recommendations and educating students about these manufacturer’s safety warnings. Therefore, the school system is responsible for any harm caused by student’s use (or misuse) of these devices. Students and teachers were not informed of these safety instructions. The administration was informed.



Transparency

We would like representatives from our group to be present for these radiation measurements. Please send us several dates so that we can find mutually agreeable times to meet to do these radiation assessments. We think this transparency would ensure community trust.

If MCPS were to do radiation level measurements without the above criteria detailed in this letter then the radiation measurements would be invalid, inaccurate and lack transparency.

We  need to trust that schools are safe. A comprehensive assessment and fully informing the parents about true radiation exposures at school would be a step towards rebuilding that trust.

Thank you so much,

Laura Simon
Safe Tech for Schools Maryland 


Chromebooks should be held 8 inches
away from the body according the FCC
and the manufacturer. 
Lloyd’s of London and Swiss RE Liability coverage issues for Wireless

Information on the Fine Print Manufacturers Warnings

Read the Open Letter to Honorable Senator Rosalyn Baker About Cell Phone Manufacturers Safety Warnings

Learn What States Across the USA Are Doing to Inform Citizens 
http://www.parentsforsafetechnology.org/usa-city-and-state-action-.html
Like Us On Facebook at Safe Tech For Schools Maryland

Watch the News Report on Our Group below. Click Pic to play. 






Sunday, March 8, 2015

WiFi: A Big Problem with a Simple Solution

WiFi: A Big Problem with a Simple Solution
Our 21st century children need an education that teaches them to solve the problems of the 21st century. They need caring thoughtful teachers who feel supported and have the resources and tools they need to teach and inspire.


They need access to the best technology.
They do not need WiFi radiation that “needs more research”.


The Problem: Wireless safety standards are outdated and do not apply to children.
  • In fact,  the US never developed a “safe level” of wireless.  Thresholds were set 30 years ago for “allowable radiation”  for military men (not children) and regulations have barely changed since then.
  • Wifi is not as safe as we thought it was. According the California Medical Association and several other independent scientists,  peer reviewed research shows adverse biological effects linked to wireless radiation including DNA breaks, inflammation, cell damage, immune dysfunction, cognitive processing effects, altered brain development, sleep and memory disturbances, ADHD, abnormal behavior, sperm dysfunction, and brain tumors.

    See all the routers in Churchill and Cabin John. Click to view. (all the circles are access points emitting radiation


The Solution: Safe Technology
  • We believe our children’s health and safety is the most important priority for any school. It is equally as important that teachers and school staff have  a safe healthy working environment. Read What Unions Say.


The Perks:  
  • In addition to eliminating the health risks, corded connections are faster and more secure. Most teachers report the corded connections “work great!” No dropped connections.


Q: How do I reduce Wifi exposures at home and still have technology?
A: Easy. Families can use Safe Technology at home. You can start by turning the WiFi off when it is not being used. Why have the wifi radiation on all night when no one is using it?


Frank Clegg, former Microsoft President gives this advice in his magazine article.
excerpts from...Frank Clegg’s Tech Exec’s 5-Step Guide to Wireless Safety
(We added a bit for clarification)
1. CELL PHONES:
a) Keep cell phones away from your head (use the speaker or airtube earbuds; not bluetooth) and out of your pocket, bras, or clothing.
b) Don’t sleep with an active cell phone near you. Use airplane mode if you need phone functions on at night. This setting blocks radiation from incoming/outgoing calls and text.
c) Children should not be near a connected cell phone or tablet device. Cell phones and tablets should not be used as toys.
d) Forward your phone to your home landline when at home.
2. CORDLESS PHONES: Replace home cordless phones with corded phones (the kind with the curly cord). The cordless phones base-station is the heaviest emitter of radiation, more than the hand-held phone.
3. WI-FI: Replace Wi-Fi with Ethernet. Call your internet company to get a non wireless router installed and use ethernet cable to connect the computers to the router. If you cannot remove the wifi router- turn it off when not in use, minimally put it on a timer or turn it off every night. Make sure it is not where someone is exposed all day, such as a bedroom or study.
4. BABY MONITORS:  Never place a wireless baby monitor (video or audio) by your child’s bed. Use a wired monitor. Parents, do not carry the monitor near your body.
5. SMART METERS:  If possible, opt out of your smart meter installations for electricity. If not possible, try to have it placed away from bedrooms or other high use area.

Every Step Reduces Exposure. Start with one. It is easier than it seems.



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Write your teacher, principal and the School Board now.
Together we can do this !