D-20 defends cell towers on school properties

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — A small piece of equipment that helps our cell phones stay connected sits near an Academy District 20 school playground. However, that same piece of equipment isn’t sitting well with some parents.

“We don’t know long-term health effects and what could come up down the road,” said Marie Williams, who has two children who attend Rockrimmon Elementary School.

And Williams isn’t the only one.

“The parents weren’t made more aware of it, or that there’s just a little sign,” said Shandra Winans, who also has children at Rockrimmon Elementary School.

She’s talking about a sign posted by Verizon.

“We get papers about everything, we are made known about everything going on, and yet I didn’t know about this,” said Elena Cruz, who has twins at Rockrimmon Elementary School.

But the tower isn’t new, and the district says it did alert parents through the proper channels.

“Most often the components are that they alert the PTO, the PTA, they alert what we call the School Accountability Committee, which is a group of parents that holds the school accountable for decisions, and then they put it in their newsletters or web newsletters and send that out. So, that would have happened way back in 2015, 2016,” said Allison Cortez, director of communications for D-20.

But what’s more upsetting is, they’re profiting from it,” Cruz said.

“$1,500 a month that goes towards staff education,” Williams said.

The district says it’s income that makes a big difference for nearly half a dozen of its schools.

“You can imagine in some of our schools that don’t have as much funding as other schools, that $1,500 can go to school improvement, it can go to new books, it can go to a curriculum that we may not have,” Cortez said.

The district also says it’s following the required regulations to keep kids safe, but these parents want proof.

“I’ve done pediatrics and oncology, and kids are so susceptible to everything way more than the adult is,” Williams said.

“We get so many emails and so many newsletters about we do not want our children on technology. ‘Please don’t allow your kids on technology. It’s dangerous for them, it’s bad for their brains.’ And yet you want to bathe all these 300 children in radiation?” Cruz said.

“We don’t know long-terms effects yet and I just wish that it had been more out in the open,” Winans said.

D-20 says it will provide links to cancer research and cell phone tower regulations to anyone who asks, and adds parents who are concerned about their children’s safety can always move to a different school.

Here are other schools at D-20 that also have cell phone towers:

  • Discovery Canyon
  • Pine Creek High School
  • Explorer Elementary School
  • Academy Endeavor Elementary
  • Timberview Middle School

According to the American Cancer Society, exposure to radio waves from cell phone tower antennas is very slight for several reasons. The power levels are low, the antennas are mounted high above the ground and the signals are transmitted intermittently, rather than constantly.

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