Safe Schools for Prince George's County

Parents, Neighbors, and Students Against  Cell Towers on School Property

Full Disclosure of Risks

1. Were parents and neighbors told that the radiation from a cell tower is classified as a Class 2 B Possible Human Health Carcinogen? 

Response from the Dr. Maxwell: "PGPS does not possess a written summary recording or transcript of the community meetings held by milestone Corp. Accordingly, we do not have any documents in response to this request." The CEO then directed us to contact Milestone. Milestone  has stated he will not send any written response to our questions.

We guess the answer is "no".

Community Concerns: 6 Hours a day of a radiation that the World Health Organization has classified as Possible Human Carcinogen  seems an important thing to tell parents. 


2. Were parents and neighbors told that the World Health Organization has a long list of research points needing to be done to understand the effects of this radiation on children and the public? 
Response from Dr. Maxwell:  Same as above.
Community Concerns: If research is ongoing, why involve our children in such an experiment? 


3. Did the Board of Education obtain documentation that the radiation from Cell towers about safety in terms of children and staff? Please provide documentation. 

Response from Dr. Maxwell: PGCPS continues to rely on the FCC's position that cell phone towers have not been proven to be a health hazard". (short version of several paragraphs.)

Citizen Concerns:  No Medical Organization states this is safe. As noted throughout this website,  the American Academy of Pediatrics and multiple scientific experts have called current FCC standards into question. Even the EPA states that these guidelines do not account for children.


4. Were parents and neighbors told that the FCC is currently reviewing their exposure standards and that their NOI asks if a "precautionary approach" with children should be taken? 

Response from PGCPS: No (in several paragraphs) . 

Citizen Concerns: If our FCC standards are being reassessed  and Scientists have submitted scientific reports to the FCC with grave concerns about current standards. Why would we go ahead and place cell towers on schools where children would be exposed? Shouldn’t we wait?  


The FCC NOI states it ,  “is not a health and safety agency, we defer to other organizations and agencies with respect to interpreting the biological research necessary to determine what levels are safe. As such, the Commission invites health and safety agencies and the public to comment on the propriety of our general present limits and whether additional precautions may be appropriate in some cases, for example with respect to children. .. In the Inquiry we ask whether any precautionary action would be either useful or counterproductive, given that there is a lack of scientific consensus about the possibility of adverse health effects at exposure levels at or below our existing limits. Further, if any action is found to be useful, we inquire whether it could be efficient and practical.”


They are asking if precautions would be "efficient or practical?" They seem  concerned about the impact on corporations if we did set safer limits? They seem concerned that corporations will suffer if we change regulations to protect children.   

What is more important?  Our children's health or a corporation's ability to sell products? 

Most parents would respond that "of course it would efficient and practical to protect children!"

What do you think? 

The 2010 paper, “Biological Effects from Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Cell Tower Base Stations and Other Antenna Arrays”  co-written by award winning medical/science journalist and author B. Blake Levitt bioelectromagnetics researcher, Henry Lai, PhD. Dr. Lai details  concerns. 

  Read all About it HERE


5. Were parents told almost a thousand submissions are in to the FCC, many raising serious health concerns? 

PGCPS Response: No. In several paragraphs.


6. Were parents and neighbors told that the EPA and the WHO do not state long term chronic exposure to  this radiation is safe?

PGCPS Response: In short "No".

Citizen Concerns: There was not adequate  premarket safety testing to even know this 30 years ago. The EPA has not even reviewed this issue in full! The EPA does not say it is safe. 


7. Were parents told that the compound will contain hazardous materials such as lead acid batteries and diesel fuel? 

Response: In short.. No because PGCPS does not have records of what Milestone does so PGCPS does not know. 

Citizen Concerns: Do we want Hazmat materials on our playgrounds? We do not see this information on the information presented to the community. 

8. Were parents and residents told of all the tower maintenance needs: That  tower workers will have 24 access to the site and be pulling up in trucks to the site as needed, that diesel generators would be turned on regularly? 


Response: In short. No because PGCPS does not have records of what Milestone does so PGCPS does not know.


9. ​Does this issue below apply to the cell towers? We understand that each carrier will have it's own diesel generator. Will it exceed 660 gallons? 
"The Prince George’s County Council unanimously approved a bill April 16 that prohibits above-ground bulk storage tanks for diesel fuel and other flammable liquids from being within 300 feet of a residence, school, playground, library or hospital, and limits their size to 660 gallons."
Read the Gazette article here
"The fuel tank, which is 20 feet long and 4 feet high, is owned by Challenger Transportation of Gaithersburg. West hampton residents said the tank is an eyesore that threatens to lower property values."
Response: In short. No because PGCPS does not have records of what Milestone does so PGCPS does not know.




BOE Vote on the  Cell Tower Deal

The Public Needs to Fully Informed of this Information.

8/2/15 Petition canvassers in Tasker neighborhood report only one resident they spoke to had any idea about the cell tower. The one resident with knowledge had called the City very concerned. Other residents that  petitioners spoken with stated they were not aware of  notification of any sort. 



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Community Notification

1. How was the Prince Georges Community Community fully notified that a Master lease with Milestone was on the agenda at the Board of Education meeting in 2010? 
Response: None so far.


Citizens Concerns: Was the BOE Agenda  the only way for the public to have known? Is that sufficient for such an important issue as this? In seconds, the BOE voted on this issue. The lease was not signed until 2011. How could the public know what to comment on without the lease to look at and without knowing they should even look at the agenda?


2. Where is the Milestone Master lease online for public comment? Where are the Tasker and Charles Flower leases online for public comment?

As of 7/27 it was not available when we searched for it on the PGCPS site. Several parents have called and have not been given this information. 8/21 update: After a Public Information was made several weeks ago, they were finally sent to a  Coalition member.  They are now uploaded by the MC Parents Coalition Advocacy Group to read Here. They are not available on the PGCPS site as far as we know.


3. How were the Tasker School parents and neighbors notified?

Response: According to the Gazette article The parents were notified on the website. However we cannot find this information on the website.

8/21/14 Update from Demetria Tobias for Dr. Maxwell

"The website for Benjamin Tasker appears to be under construction and the posting regarding the project does not appear on the site currently. The archived item can be accessed as follows via computer:
 Enter www.pgcps.org
 Go to the search box in the upper right hand corner and search “Tasker Cell Tower”
 When the search results appear, click on “Attention Benjamin Tasker Parents: Verizon Wireless has identified…"

Our Response: How long as the website been under construction". Why do most parents and neighbors we talk to say, "I never knew".


Additional Response from Demetria Tobias on behalf of Dr. Maxwell.

Notices were mailed in keeping with the procedures outlined in the “Prince George’s County Telecommunications Transmission Facility Coordinating Committee Application Instructions and Review Process”. Milestone also enhanced the notification mailing list for both sites, notifying significantly more residents in the communities surrounding these sites than mandated by regulation.
Please see the following excerpt from the Instructions and Review Process (2010):
“For any application for a new monopole, tower, or other antenna support structure, pursuant to CB- 34-2007, 30 days prior to filing a TTFCC application notice of the proposed new structure must be sent to the adjoining property owners, County Council member, civic organizations registered with the M-NCPPC and located within one mile of the location, and any municipality within one mile of the location. The mailing must inform the parties of the right to request a community briefing on the proposed facility. If a briefing is requested, the briefing will be conducted by the carrier or its representative and attended by the TTFCC Chair or designee.”

Our Response: Why were the adjoining property owners unaware? Something has gone wrong in the notification system. 

Response from Dr. Maxwell on Tasker notification

1/6/14 Coordination with Principal and PTA President re: notifications 

1/10/14 www.taskerschoolwireless.com Website “live” 

Required Notification Mailer with Milestone Enhanced Notification 

sent via USPS Certificate of Mailing.

Required Mailing Actual Mailing 

35 Total 114 via USPS Certificate of Mailing 

1/13/14 School notified ok to start their outreach, including 

- E-alert directing parents to School webpage to view posting 

- Web page posting of one-page notification sheet 

1/21/14 Presentation to City of Bowie Mayor and City Council scheduled but 

cancelled by Bowie due to snow. 

1/30/14 Community Meeting held 

One Bowie resident attended, Mr. Lee, Program Chair of Bowie Senior 

Computer Club, who invited Maureen Smith to be a speaker regarding 

cellular technology at an upcoming meeting (April 17). 

2/3/14 Presentation to City of Bowie Mayor and City Council (Televised) 

2/20/14 Notice for balloon fly prints in Bowie Blade-News. 

2/25/14 SHPO Balloon fly held. NOTE: Published public notice given in Bowie 

Blade. 


Citizens Concerns: 

 Why has the webposting dissapeared from the site? parents we talk to say they never saw it. 

Balloon test: Many neighbors  missed this! How big was the notice? How would they know of such an important notice if they did not read the Gazette? Many neighbors right near the school say they had no idea of this balloon test.

5. How were the Charles Flowers parents and neighbors notified? 


Response 8/21/14 from Dr. Maxwell


Citizen Concerns: We already have one example of HOA letters going to the wrong address and residents who state they heard much later.

6.  Could you please send me detailed information on how residents were 
notified about the balloon test at Tasker and Charles Flowers? 

Response: The Prince George’s County land use regulations do not require a balloon 
test for either site. However, a publicly-noticed balloon test was held at Benjamin 
Tasker Middle School on February 25, 2014 as part of Milestone’s due diligence 
compliance with the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) regulations. 
Notice appeared in the Bowie Blade-News on February 20, 2014. 



Process

1. Dr. Kevin Maxwell signed the lease for the Tasker tower. Did he have signing authority for the Board? Please provide documentation.


Response: Dr. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer, serves as Secretary/Treasurer for 

the Board of Education and has legal authority to sign a contract on the Board’s 

behalf once it has been duly approved by the Board. As authorized by Maryland 

Code, Education Article section 4-205(d): “A contract made by a county board is 

not valid without the written approval of the county superintendent.”

Citizen Concern: This code does not match the question. 

How was the contract approved by the Board? When did they review it and vote on it? The contract was not signed until 2011. The vote was in 2010 but they did not have the lease in front of them? 


2. Why are the towers not going through the special exception process? They are in residential zones.  Shouldn’t this qualify as a special exception? 

See Code Sec. 27-445.04. 


Response: This question is being reviewed by the Office of Law

8/21/2014 Response: Per the Zoning Ordinance for Prince George’s County, the facility at Benjamin Tasker Middle School is a permitted use in a Residential Zone. Please see excerpt below from the Prince George’s County Zoning Code below, with relevant references in bold print:
Sec. 27-445.04.

Coalitions Concerns: These towers should go through the special exception process. The Code requirement cited by the BOE states  4 or fewer visits to cell tower compound.  
The leases for these towers state there will be a minimum of 4 visits per year.  Add in the re-fueling of the diesel tank and these projects fall under the requirements for a Special Exception. It is that simple.






The Community Needs Answers to These Questions


Citizens have written the Board of Education,  Dr. Maxwell and Prince Georges County Zoning about these questions. We are awaiting a full response to each question. If these questions have been answered and we did not note it, please email us at safeschoolspg@gmail.com so that we can update this information as will input this regularly.

Read Below to Understand how Health and Safety Information has NOT been given to the Community.

​Answered Questions are at the bottom of this list. Unanswered Questions at the top.