Center for Safer Wireless
Promoting Safety in Our Wireless World

Cell Phone Towers and Antennas on School Property
More and more school divisions are securing cell tower leases or cell phone antennas leases on school buildings and field light poles.  These leases are a lucrative and an easy source of revenue to reduce school division budget gaps. For example, during 2010 Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida will receive $255,246 in revenue from cell phone towers.  Over 10 years, the school district is guaranteed to receive $2,905,322.  Lake Oswego, Oregon brings in $200,000 a year from its nine cell sites at its two high schools and two junior high schools. Most recently, AT&T plans to pay Poway Unified School District $382,000 to install cellular antennas above the football stadium at Del Norte High School.

Reported Health Effects from Children And Staff at Schools with Cell Towers

Do school officials understand the reported health effects?  Children’s bodies absorb more electromagnetic fields than adults.  Some children experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, skin rashes, dizziness, and brain fog from being near a cell tower.   
Some children get sick from being too close to cell phone antennas and towers on school grounds.  At the beginning of the school year in 2003, an 11-year old girl suffered headaches and nausea on Wednesday afternoons when she attended Tarleton High School in Lancashire, England. After school on Wednesdays, she vomited at home. The symptoms went away until the following Wednesday.  After many weeks, school administrators recognized that she had 3 Wednesday afternoon classes in the math building.  There were cell phone antennas 8 feet directly above her  classroom in the math building. Once her schedule changed, she no longer suffered from these symptoms. Other students got sick as well. It took 4 years, but the headmaster finally managed to get the antennas removed.
A Bayville, NY couple has filed a lawsuit against the village of Bayville over dozens of cell phone antennas on a water tower located very close to Bayville Elementary School.  The lawsuit alleges that the donated land cannot be used for commercial purposes.  More importantly, attorney Andrew Capanelli claims that there is a higher than normal rate of cancer at Bayville Elementary School which may result from the cell phone antennas.  He said that as much as 30% of staff at the school had been diagnoses with various illnesses including leukemia and other forms of cancer. A kindergarten student at the school also had leukemia.,0,7715148.story
Some School Boards Vote to Ban Cell Towers
In 2008 the West Lin-Wilsonville School Board in Oregon voted to prohibit commercial microwave cell sites on and adjacent to school property. The School Board allows the one existing cell tower contract to expire. Board members were concerned that the cell sites were not proven safe.
In 2008, a parent of a child that attends Staten Island Intermediate School 34 in Staten Island, NY noticed a radiofrequency radiation sign on the third floor of the school.  The parent became concerned about the health effects that may students may experience and was instrumental in the Department of Education deciding to remove the microwave dish and antennas from the school’s roof.  The antennas were part of a city-wide communications system for first responders and had not been operational.
Communities and Groups Vote for Tower Setbacks from Schools and Daycare Facilities
Greenwich, CT generated a bill to require a 750 square setback of cell towers from schools and daycare facilities.
The town of Bar Harbor, Maine includes in its  communication tower ordinance a provision for a 1,500 feet setback for cell towers near schools and day care facilities.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Unified School District passed a resolution calling for criteria to establish cell tower setbacks from schools.
The Connecticut PTA passed a resolution in 2003 that supports legislation calling for a 1500 feet setback from a school or day care and a cell phone tower. 



Taking Action Can Make A Difference

Students, parents and teachers voiced their concerns about having a cell tower on top of Sullivan Heights Secondary School in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Working together, the defeated those in favor of the proposed cell phone tower in 2003.
In January 2010, over 100 parents and concerned citizens organized and spoke at a public hearing about a proposed cell phone tower near the playing field at Walnut Heights Elementary School in Walnut Creek, California.  Citizens were concerned about the aesthetics of the proposed antenna tree, reduced property values, and potential health effects. The Walnut Creek School Board voted to reject the application.
5 minute video about cell tower       erected near a school in England.

BRAG Antenna Ranking of Schools
BRAG Antenna Ranking of Schools

In April 2010, Moms for Safer Wireless partnered with to release the BRAG™ Antenna Ranking of Schools"  The report is the result of a multi-year study of school children's potential exposure to cell phone antennas and base stations in U.S. state capitols prepared by Dr. Havas and students at Trent University, Canada. Exposure metrics for approximately 6,000 public and private schools were assessed. A composite grade was generated for each school based on 1) how close the nearest antenna was to the school, 2) how many antennas were located within 0.25 miles or approximately 400 meters (the distance within which scientific research documents mental, emotional and physical symptoms in adults), and 3) within 0.6 miles, or approximately 1 kilometer, from the school. Read the full report.

Would you like to find out the BRAG antenna ranking in your community? Read the report to find the US capital city where you live. If you do not live in a United States capital city, you can be the first in your area to create a BRAG antenna ranking report. Here’s how. Download the report and read Part 3, the method.  Follow the methods of the report and create a BRAG antenna ranking for yourarea.