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Group fights siting of cell towers on schools’ grounds

Parents and students gathered on Tuesday in front of the Prince George\'s County Board of Education building in Upper Marlboro. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — More and more cellphone towers are going up on the grounds of schools, but a new group has formed to fight the trend in the D.C. region.

Citizens, homeowners and parents from Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties have formed a group called the Maryland Coalition Against Cell Towers on Schools. They want all cellphone tower construction on school grounds in the state to stop immediately.

They cite the possibility that kids are being exposed to radiation.

“We have no proof of safety, and until we have proof of safety, why would we put it on our children,” said parent Thea Scarato at a news conference Tuesday night in front of the Prince George’s County Board of Education building in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

They’re also concerned about the materials stored at tower sites.

“Cell towers turn school grounds into haz-mat sites, with diesel generators and lead batteries,” said homeowner David Keaton.

The group has put together a list of 25 reasons to keep cell towers off school grounds.

The coalition has launched a petition drive and is looking at other ways to take action.

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education has teamed up with Milestone Communications to bring cellphone towers to the grounds of public schools in the state.

Milestone’s website reads: “Our mission is to create recurring revenue opportunities for school systems and increase wireless capacity through developing wireless towers when and where they are needed.”

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