I attended the Kings Park School District Board meeting on February 28th 2012 and I am writing to voice my concern about the district’s irresponsible plan to build a cell phone tower near the parking lot of the New Discovery Child Care Center.
The school district is building this tower because if it leases this space to Suffolk Wireless it could generate between $20,000 and $90,000 a year for the district.
It was outrageously patronizing that we were told at the Board meeting that the amount of frequency generated by the tower was less than what “four people emit together in a group hug.”
The fact is, NOBODY really knows how dangerous cell tower emissions are, particularly to more vulnerable small children. Some studies show that they can be harmful, but the science seems unsettled. Most people would agree that the facts are unclear, the technology still too new:
“Radio frequencies emitted from mobile telephone towers will have deleterious medical effects to people within the near vicinity according to a large body of scientific literature. Babies and children will be particularly sensitive to the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of the radio frequency radiation. It is therefore criminal to place one of these aerials on or near a school.” Helen Caldicott, MD, pediatrician and co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
“The FCCs current exposure guidelines...are thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, non-thermal exposure situations.... Therefore, the generalization that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms is not justified.” Norbert Hankin, Radiation Protection Division, EPA
Palm Beach, Florida, Los Angeles, California, and New Zealand prohibit cell phone towers and antennas on school property due to safety concerns. The European Parliament recommends that cell towers should not be sited near schools. The National Academy of Science called for more research on risks on long-term exposure to children and pregnant women.
If other school districts across our country and around the world can stand up for children and prohibit cell towers on school property due to safety concerns, why can’t Kings Park School District? The answer, in my opinion, is quite obvious. The “New Discovery” building will soon be empty of children. New Discovery can no longer pay the rent on the building to the school district and they will no longer be there in the fall. Just in time for the tower to commence being built! (This would also make it unusable for other child care tenants or district use of the building in the future).
If this tower is as safe as the School Board contends, would they dare to build it on the grounds of the high school? On the grounds of Park View or RJO? Of course not- the public outcry would be overwhelming in our town as children from all over Kings Park attend these schools. But the New Discovery building will be empty of children and the only children near to this tower will be in the homes close by. So, the Board has calculated that our protests will be minimal.
Well, my children will be too close to this tower and I am protesting loudly.
The School Board has sold my children out for as little as $20,000 a year.
My son started Kindergarten in September. As I led him to the school bus for the first time with tags pinned on him letting everyone know if lost he should be returned to K-4 in Park View, he seemed so small. I TRUSTED the Kings Park School District to keep him safe on the bus and safe in his classroom.
The School Board has no business being in the business of constructing cell towers on their unused property to generate revenue. Cell phone tower safety is controversial at best and the school district’s primary business is educating our children, and their primary ethical responsibility is to keep all of Kings Park’s children safe- whether their buildings are currently in use or not. They are letting the neighborhood children down.
These are children that will be attending Park View, RJO and the High School. What if my 7 month old baby develops learning problems from the tower’s exposure- can anyone guarantee he won’t? What if other babies in the area do? Will the additional costs of educating them be covered by the revenue from the tower?
The Kings Park School District should be prepared for potential liability issues. Moms talk- we talk at trick-or-treating, outside the nursery classrooms, at the bus stop, and on the playgrounds. If health problems start to develop in our children that seem strange and were not there before the tower, we will look for a reason. And we will not hesitate to take legal action and demand compensation from the district.
We are respectfully asking the board to not build a cell phone tower on the property of the New Discovery site - it is a risky venture for the neighborhood’s children and for the Kings Park School District itself.
Kings Park, resident
Editor's note- The Kings Park Board of Education stated at the Feb. 28 meeting that further talk on the matter would be discussed at an upcoming board meeting. A vote on the matter has not yet taken place. Patch will present a full story on the meeting soon.