Parents are concerned about the Cumberland Valley School District’s plans to lease out a portion of its campus to telecom company Verizon to receive an annual $24,000 to allow a cellular tower to be built on district’s land.
In response to outcry, Cumberland County’s Silver Spring Township Board of Supervisors voted in December to amend the text in their current zoning regulation. The amendment would prohibit cell phone towers from being built within 1,000 feet of schools or daycares, writes Alexandria Hoff of ABC27 News.
Jonathan Burns, who has two children attending Eagle View Middle School just yards from where Verizon plans to build, is concerned about a mobile tower near their children’s school. According to Burns, some possible health risks are associated with close-range electromagnetic frequencies.
The scientific community has mixed opinions on whether this type of radiation can be cancer-causing. No clear scientific evidence is available. Most believe that the levels are too low.
“There is no place in scientific study for a ‘Chicken Little; Sky is Falling’ mentality,” said Silver Spring resident and local physician Todd Harvey. “My personal skepticism of the science behind electromagnetic risks has been high but with the results of studies being inconclusive, why should we take the risk with our children when other locations for the towers are available?” Harvey said.
Following the township’s approval, the amendment will now be passed onto the township and the county planning commissions for further review.
A public hearing will be held on January 22nd in Silver Spring Township.
In New Zealand, parents reently won a battle against a school district in Manawatu over Wi-Fi in school. Many parents fear that wireless signals can cause cancer and they asked school district to cut off wireless internet in schools, and protesters believed that electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure is harmful to the human body.
The battle began when Damon Wyman and David Bird attacked Te Horo School system over the promotion of Wi-Fi networks for educational purposes. Wyman’s 10 year old son Ethan was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in August 2012. Ethan’s father blames Apple for his son’s death. He strongly believes the cancer was caused by the iPod his son received as a gift. His claims were also backed by some in the medical community.
In 2012, the Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association (OECTA) also said that Wi-Fi access in schools “may present a potential health and safety risk or hazard in the workplace.” The association’s statement came in response to the rise of Wi-Fi access in schools across Canada.
In a statement, OECTA criticized the increasingly use of wireless devices such as iPads in primary education facilities. Wi-Fi internet service has been installed in 81 school districts in Ontario in the past 3-4 years. Many people believe that internet and online technologies can help Canadian school districts to easily educate remote and widely dispersed student populations.