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17 September 2016

Virginia Residents Vehemently Oppose Elementary School Cell Tower 50 Feet from Playing Children

View this NBC News Report presented on 
21 September 2016.

"If recent medical studies are right, then in 5-10 years, 3-5% of the students may suffer health problems from the chronic exposure. Why would anyone need to take unnecessary risk with our smallest and most important citizens?" 

Virginia Residents Vehemently Oppose Elementary School Cell Tower 50' from Playing Children

kltv.com, 15 September 2016

Officials Deny the Risks, But Chronic Exposure to Children is Untested

HERNDON, VA, September 15, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Parents and neighbors in the affluent Fairfax County, Virginia community are fighting to move the proposed cell tower away from their children at the local Crossfield Elementary School. Anticipating the revenue from the tower, instead of prudence and compassion for the children, School Board officials haven't engaged to stop the tower approved by their Assistant Superintendent, Jeffrey Platenberg.

Mr. Platenberg manages Fairfax County Public Schools facilities, buses and a growing profitable cell tower business on school property - over thirty towers and more planned. The proposed Crossfield tower is the second for an elementary school (50' from the playground and less than 200' from the building) and not placed in a stadium away from the school. Parents are outraged that the elected School Board did not follow its own public notice policy before the tower was approved, and won't get involved now.

Unless the School Board withdraws the application, parents cannot even voice their concern about the health and safety of their children. Health issues cannot be discussed because the 1996 Telecommunications Act asserts that tower radiation is safe. Is it safe? Long-term exposure to children has never been tested. The World Health Organization, Harvard University's Center for Ethics ("Captured Agency" June 2015) and many researchers link tower radiation to cancer. Parents have a right to demand caution for their children, but these officials prefer a tower next to the school rather than 1,000'+ away in the adjacent county park where they won't be paid.

Verizon hasn't said that there is a communications gap which might justify a tower. They are seeking to improve service for their clients and future needs. For years, neighboring homeowners associations and churches refused to install towers. The communities prefer distant towers and healthy, unirradiated environs. The approved Crossfield tower application is a warning signal that the school officials have other priorities.

Board members haven't commented except Pat Hynes who wrote, "It is not my role to intervene." Tom Wilson offered to meet but hasn't been available for three months. Approved by the school system, the application will next be considered by Fairfax County Planning Commission (28th September hearing) and Board of Supervisors (October hearing). Representatives Cathy Hudgins and Frank de la Fe from the Hunter Mill District told parents "anyone will sign petitions" (of the ~550 families asking the tower be stopped) and find no reason to deny the application. "It is the School Board's property. They can do what they want," said Supervisor Hudgins.

Unfortunately, the parents in Fairfax County have little option. Superintendent Garza isn't allowing transfers to other area schools and only the more affluent students will be able to escape into the safety of private schools. Said one parent, "Voting these politicians out of office can't happen fast enough for these children. If recent medical studies are right, then in 5-10 years, 3-5% of the students may suffer health problems from the chronic exposure. Why would anyone need to take unnecessary risk with our smallest and most important citizens?"

Across the nation, many other communities are engaged in this struggle as school boards are paid and pushed to install cell towers. The Internet of all things has barely begun. School administrators should be allowed to focus on education where they excel. A national moratorium against towers on school (and child care) properties would help them concentrate.

Of related interest: Over the summer Fairfax County Public Schools updated its webpage. The mission statement of "education in a healthy and safe environment" has been removed.

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