Monday, October 31, 2011

Petition Quote of the Day!

From the DeKalb County petition opposing cell towers at all schools, including: Brockett Elementary, Medlock Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, Jolly Elementary School, Lakeside High School, Briarlake Elementary School, Flat Rock Elementary School, Princeton Elementary School, Narvie J. Harris Elementary School and Margaret Harris Comprehensive Center. Our Favorite Petition Comment of the Day is:

"As a long-time DeKalb resident and parent, I strongly object to the placement of a cell tower at any school. We are opting to move to a different school district because of this and many other inappropriate actions by the Board of Education."

You could be picked as our next "Petition Quote of the Day" by simply signing the petition to help us tell our county school board and zoning officials how we really feel! Just go to: before the next school board meeting, Nov. 7, so we can include ALL the comments in the copy that will be hand delivered to them at the meeting! Thank you!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

So this is what they meant by RF radiation?

Happy Halloween everyone!

If you want to read about something really scary, check out the mention we received on the DeKalb County School Watch:

If you cannot trust your PTA to look out for the health of the children, then you have to make sure YOU are keeping up to date with school board decisions yourself. If you can't make the meetings, then you can always watch them on Comcast Channel 24 live or reveiw them a couple months after the fact on the school board's website. The next meeting will be held on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m.

To review the vote on the cell tower that happened this past July, click this link: , locate the July 11, 2011, work session and business meeting link andd click on it to begin the video. Once it starts, you can skip to 2:41:30 in the video.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to Appeal a Cell Tower in Your Area

Exerpt from - a site full of great information to help fight the towers!

How do you issue an appeal against a proposed cell tower going up within residential property? Go to your city, county, or local government zoning and building department and ask to fill out an appeal request against the building of the proposed cell phone tower. There is usually a cost to file the appeal, with a very small window of opportunity by which to do so. In my Georgia county the appeal process had to be done in 30 days. Of course, I was never notified, thereby I was not granted my Constitutional right to due process. However, if you have been notified of a propossed sitting of a cell phone tower, " time" is of the essence by which you can appeal and state your case before your city or county commissioners, leaders, or zoning board. Getting the appeal process completed is your first order of business.


Favorite GTCO-ATL Petition Comment of the Day

From the DeKalb County petition opposing cell towers at all schools, including: Brockett Elementary, Medlock Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, Jolly Elementary School, Lakeside High School, Briarlake Elementary School, Flat Rock Elementary School, Princeton Elementary School, Narvie J. Harris Elementary School and Margaret Harris Comprehensive Center. Our Favorite Petition Comment of the Day is:

"I do not appreciate DCSS's commercialization of the school system by "renting out" the school property for cell towers. This smacks of endorsement and should not be allowed by ANY government entity. Since the elected school board officials don't seem to have the sense to run the board properly, I hope the county zoning officials will step up to the plate. I also encourage all parents to research who voted for and against this decision and take that research to the polls during the next school board election."

You could be picked as our next "Petition Quote of the Day" by simply signing the petition to help us tell our county school board and zoning officials how we really feel! Just go to: before the next school board meeting, Nov. 7, so we can include ALL the comments in the copy that will be hand delivered to them at the meeting! Thank you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What's at the Bottom of a Cell Tower Anyway?

Most everyone has an idea about what the top of a cell tower looks like by now... but have you ever wondered what's at the bottom? If you think it is similar to an electric or telephone pole that just sticks straight into the ground, you would be incorrect. The base of a cell tower may actually be more dangerous than what's at the top!

Although the top emits radiation, at least it is generally 150' above ground or higher. But, since your child may soon be playing on a playground right next to a cell tower base in DeKalb County, you might want to get familiar with the dangers that will exist so you can warn your child not to go near it and never, ever cross the fenced in area or attempt to climb a cell tower! Here's a look at some base stations at ATT and T-mobile towers that are operational in our county today.

A parent who is actively fighting cell towers in Maryland via the Parents Coalition of Montgomery County,, had this advice to offer to us here in DeKalb County:

6:32pm on Tuesday, June 21, 2011
It doesn't seem that the people in this community really understands what a cell tower on school property means. It means a commercial entity on public school land. It means 24/7 access by company workers. It means the placement of a HAZMAT (hazardous materials) site on playgrounds. It means trucks driving over school grounds (can mess up football fields, playgrounds, trucks arrive DURING recess) and it means maintenance of the grounds issues as the compound becomes overgrown.

Cell tower and stranger danger:
Summary: There are some facts you as community members, parents and tax payers need to know about.

While you read these facts, consider the following questions:
* What benefit is it doing to our children?
* What benefit does it bring to our community?
* Why are other schools benefiting from the cell tower in our backyard?
* How is this tower helping the value of our homes?
* When did a public school become a profit generating business?

1. Towers bring very little money into the school system and even less, if any, will be spent at the school that's assuming this huge 30-year risk. For example, if MLK, Jr. High School in Lithonia, GA, with approximately 1833 students (according to, were to actually be allowed to keep all the money from their tower so it could be spent at their school, it would be the equivelent to less than $5.00 per student per year! Did anyone think to ask the parents if they would like to contribute $20 per year per child so that the school board would NOT place a cell tower nearby?

2. The cell tower funds the school receives are not appropriated by county and are separate from the general fund. It ends up being essentially nothing more than a slush fund that can be utilized, and not be penalized, as the school board wishes.

4. The schools with the towers believed they would get 25K per PTA. They have since learned the money all goes to the general fund and they will then be able to "direct" the spending of $25,000 in the first year. After that, all money goes straight to the general fund. Why are all schools able to benefit from a huge health and safety issue being forced upon only a few?

5. T-mobile wants to add up to three additional devices per tower, once they are operational. This increases the radiation exposure and nothing in the contract states what would be in it for the schools with the towers.

6. T-mobile and frequently visits the cell tower site and as it has happened at other schools, they do not check in or check out.

7. The DCSS did not include anything in the T-mobile contract that would require the employees or subcontractors of T-mobile to have background checks. If you have a child in a trailor or at recess when these people are inspecting the towers, this is a major concern.

8. The driveway and eavesments have been known to create an eyesore for the school and the community.

We as parents and tax payers need to demand that the money being brought into our school is used appropriately. If you are a member of the PTA at your school, it is recommended that your PTA take a vote about whether or not to allow the extra devices to be co-located on your tower and whether or not the school should enforce the check-in policy that exists for volunteers or anyone else coming onto school property. You can then deliver that message to your principal and school council member and ask that it be brought to the attention of your board member.

Look at the dirt road created by all the truck traffic to the cell tower on the playground at this elementary school:

Read about the HAZMAT issue and T-Mobile response to comply with county law:

Here is what the base of the cell tower looks like at one school:

Maintenance of site:


Reprint from the Tucker Patch
Author:  Cheryl Miller
(click headline for the full story)
Much to the dismay and dislike of our DeKalb County School Board, we were still talking about cell towers when it came time for a vote on the SPLOST, special local one-cent sales tax.  But, as far as we were concerned, the two things are very much connected.  Without the financial troubles and lawsuits that resulted from previous SPLOSTs, we likely would not be in a position where something like cell towers would even need to be considered for budget enhancements.  And, if you can't trust your school board representative to listen to your opinion (or even call you back) when it comes to an urgent concern like the cell tower slated for your school, why would you trust that person to oversee a big huge chunk of your money, combined with the money from all your neighbors?  We didn't think it was right for our voices to be ignored and our rights to be trampled on, so we advocated for a "no" vote as a way to "send a message" that the people of our county were paying attention and demanding change before we would just hand over more money. 

Unfortantely, the board held the election at an odd time, making it the only thing on the ballot.  And, with enough friends and family, it was nearly impossible to stop the runaway SPLOST train.  People without kids just assume that if something is "for the children" then it must be good.  But, how much of the previous money even got to the "children" and why did it end up causinig major withdrawls from the general fund - the one to pay for the actual education?  We may never know the answers... but at least we are starting to ask the right questions!

Other communities, cell tower or no cell tower, are sadly still caught in the game of playing tag, hoping to each get a turn at asking for special favors while no one wants to be left  out in the cold.  We'll continue our quest to unite them all and show these communities that their strength is NOT in their barganing for top dog position.  Strength is in the numbers!  If we can stick together, share information and help each other, we can root out the bad and let all the good rise to the top!  Or, at least that is the theroy. 

But, for now, it is time to...

Wake Up and Smell the SPLOST

I was recently contacted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution to give my opinion about SPLOST IV (see article here) and before I knew it, I was in the middle of controversy. I guess voicing your own opinion and then backing it up with what you know to be true can sometimes be unpopular, especially when there is money involved. But, I still stand by my position and there are a lot of people out there who agree with me.

I don't expect everyone to speak out, but I do hope that more people will get out and vote on Tuesday, November 8, so your opinion will actually count. Like all elections, the biggest contributing factor in the upcoming SPLOST IV vote will likely come low voter turnout. Since SPLOST IV is viewed as relevant only to parents of public school children, chances are fairly good that a large portion of voters who could make a difference either do not know about this issue or do not care. And that means they do not intend to vote.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. "
                                                                        - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
But, if you are concerned about high taxes and mismanagement of your money, it might be time to start paying attention because a good school system can make or break our county. And right now, we need all the help we can get. So, thanks to the Internet, it does not take much time to get caught up on the issues concerning our school system. And, if you really enjoy controversy, I recommend you check out The DeKalb School Watch blog or the website I moderate on behalf of our schools that were selected to receive cell towers courtesy of T-mobile and the DeKalb County School System (DCSS): Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter.

Think "Yes" (to education), but Vote "No" (on SPLOST IV)
The reason I am comfortable with the "No" on SPLOST is precisely because we know that they have other ways to get the money, such as repealing the homestead exemption for property owners. This option has been positioned very cleverly as being a negative effect of a "No" vote. But, if you consider your options, you might find that it really would not be so bad. For every homeowner, the cost of losing the exemption would be about $57 flat.
(If SPLOST is not approved then we would lose the $2500 extra homestead exemption that goes against the school levy that we get in DeKalb. The school millage rate is 22.98 mils. 22.98 times $2500 is $57 and change. That's the same no matter the value of your house because the exemption of $2500 is the same for every homeowner. This amount would change only if the millege were to increase.)
So, if you want to look at it on a strictly personal level, do the math. Can you afford a penny on every dollar you spend for a year on everything except food? Or is a one-time, flat cost of $57 per household a better bargain for you?

This could be the wake-up call we need!
And, if you wonder what will happen if you decide to vote "No." The biggest difference is not whether they will get the money. It is only about how they will do it. A "No" to SPLOST IV results in a repeal of the property tax exemption. And that will do one very important thing - it will notify a lot more residents in our county about how bad the problems are in the school system these days. And since property owners are probably more likely to vote as well, these are important people for us to reach so that they might help us elect responsible school board members when it is time to cast our ballots next November.
A continuation of a tax that is already in place without even a short gap of interruption will not only send a message of approval to the current board, but it will also be passed without the majority of our county even realizing that anything has taken place. The current SPLOST funds extend through August 2012 and the tax can be revisited again if we do not pass it on November 8.
I think it is better to give the new superintendent a clean break from the past while she completes her plans. We should enable her to provide more input into the list of items where the money should be allocated so the money will go to back her plans, not require her to work within the confines of a plan that hasn't worked for us in the past.

Think Ahead if You Want Real Change
Without bringing attention to the education downslide we are on, we (the parents and teachers) will not be able to influence the other voters when it is time to try to vote out the incumbents who have failed to listen to us and have pursued their own agendas. It is a fact that voters who are unsure of how to vote will typically vote to preserve what is going on now because, even in difficult times, people are inherently afraid of change. We have to motivate them to WANT to change.

Yes, it might take a short adjustment period where some pain is felt, but it is temporary. If you are concerned about the conditions of the schools, then perhaps you could consider volunteering your time to help. Maybe the PTA or the community at large could help raise funds and organize clean-up or repair days with local volunteers for the most pressing immediate needs that have been neglected by our school board. Our money can be used to directly help the schools, rather than collected and then wasted by administrators who pay their own salaries first before paying teachers and beautify and improve their own surroundings before considering the needs of our children.

We are giving away so much money that it is literally bleeding us all dry, and for what? Our schools are a mess, our board is corrupt and our children are failing. Money is not the only way to show support for the children. In this case, the good intentions of the public to help our schools has resulted in litigation that must be paid by the fund that would normally pay our teachers. So, by giving more money to SPLOST, we actually took money away from those who are directly responsible for teaching our children.

Congress will not pass a new law if there is one single line in it that they cannot agree upon. Instead, they will deny it and wait for a better version to come across their desks. If the money is really needed, we do not have to worry about them finding other ways to ask... that is exactly what they will do.

Don't accept something that is not clearly defined or does not meet your expectations. Do not settle for less than what we deserve. Do not take the abuse of those in power without at least attempting to put your foot down. Because a leopard doesn't change its spots, but a great city and a great county can certainly decline into poverty if we do not speak out now while we still have something left that is worth protecting.

Early Voting for DeKalb County

From the Voter Registrations Office 404-298-4020
(click headline for the full story)
Early voting for all DeKalb County voters has begun for the municipal and
countywide special elections that will be conducted on November 8, 2011.
The voting will continue weekdays through Friday, November 4 from 8:30 AM
until 4:00 PM. The location is the Voter Registration office at 4380
Memorial Drive. There will be no voting on Monday, November 5.

For a review about the E-SPLOST and why we advocate DeKalb County to vote "no," please refer to the following links:
"Wake Up and Smell the SPLOST" on the Tucker Patch.
"School SPLOST has Opposition," on the

The educational special purpose local option sales tax (E-SPLOST) is to
continue a 1% sales tax for educational purposes for the DeKalb,
Atlanta and Decatur school systems. This 1% tax has been collected since 1997 and must be voted on every five years to continue.

For more details on the E-SPLOST, go to the following websites:

DeKalb School System website at

Atlanta Public Schools website at

Decatur City Schools website at

In addition to the E-SPLOST, each municipality in DeKalb is conducting
elections for city officials, to approve Sunday liquor sales and to
approve special referendums.

Refer to the DeKalb Votes website at to see sample ballots and to locate your polling place for Election day.

Questions may be addressed to the Voter Office, 404-298-4020.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cell Towers on School Grounds: 5 Medical Reasons for Concern

By Viola Davis, RN BSN
(click headline for the full story)
“The first rule of medicine is ‘First, do no Harm.’ Wise words no matter what the profession.”

-- By Brian A. Kuzik MD, MSc, FRCP

Concern 1: Independent research shows an increase in brain tumors – malignant glioma.

Concern 2: Consistent Epidemiologic evidence of an association between childhood leukemia and exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields has led to their classification by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible human carcinogen.”

Concern 3: Children are in particular danger from these emissions as their head sizes are smaller, their skulls are thinner and their bodies are still growing. A study is underway that will further evaluate the effects of cell phones on children. It can be reviewed at: (results due in 2013)

Concern 4: Those who live near cell phone towers are exposed to radiofrequency radiation 24 hours a day. During that time there are higher and lower exposure levels. General symptoms include headaches, fatigue, concentration problems, dizziness, insomnia, depression, appetite loss, skin rashes, and discomfort.

Concern 5: Cell phone radiation damages DNA, an undisputed cause of cancer and male fertility is damaged by cell phone radiation. For medical research articles visit

Any financial gain DeKalb County School System hopes to receive in return for the cell tower lease would clearly not be worth risking the lives and health of our children and community. If cell phones are now rated as “possible human carcinogen,” then we need to be concerned about cell phone towers.


Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 2:39:30 PM
Subject: RE: cell tower at MLK Jr. H.S.
(click headline for the full story)

Dear (Get the Cell Out - Atlanta):

Your email has been forwarded to the Office of CEO Burrell Ellis. Thank you for writing and expressing your concerns. After discussing with Planning staff, we have learned that the school system is exempt from county zoning ordinances, and that the towers are to be located on school system property, of which the CEO or BOC has no oversight or jurisdiction. ...

However, in the event that a permit application is filed, the County performs an inspection of the site, but has no approval authority on the erection of cell towers.*
I hope this information is helpful.

Special Assistant, DeKalb County Government
330 W. Ponce De Leon, Decatur, GA 30030
office: (404) 371-6304 | fax: (404) 371-6291 |

(* we believe the author meant "on school property" because otherwise this statement would be incorrect They do have the approval authority of all other cell towers. At GTCO-ATL, we believe they should have the same authority for cell towers at schools. Just because the school is exempt should not mean that the business that is building a for-profit structure on leased property should be allowed to 'inherit' that same exemption... should they?)

Caption: Did you know? The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), the same category that includes exhaust fumes from automobiles. So, why do our schools appear to be concerned about one, and not the other?

Residents and taxpayers in DeKalb County:

If you are like us, it probably does not make you feel very happy or safe to know that cell towers, which are huge structures normally seen only in Industrial locations or along Interstates far away from homes or schools, can be constructed in the middle of a residential community, on public school property that's actively being used for education of children, the group of people most susceptible to possible harm from RF Radiation.

These dangerous towers that emit radiation and contain HAZMAT materials at the bottom are normally expected to meet the approval of the county commissioners and pass the zoning and permitting authorities which involves public notice and comment. But, at least here in DeKalb County, the cell companies can avoid all the red tape including paying property taxes as long as they go up on school property. They do not have to follow any criteria that has been set forth to protect the public and maintain property values.

They only need approval from a school board that's willing to lease its property to them. And, this, too, can be accomplished without notification to the public. The people being affected by the decisions - the children who attend the schools and the people who pay the taxes to support the school - are completely left out of the process by which the decision is made.

If you are not satisfied with a government that is leaving you out of the equation, we suggest you try to voice your concern at the next Community Council Meeting for your district.

Community Councils are advisory groups of DeKalb County citizens that review applications for land use map amendments and zoning applications such as special land use permits, rezones, and amendments to the text of the zoning ordinance.  There are five Community Councils, one for each Board of Commissioners  district.

The Councils meet every other month if there are zoning or land use map amendment applications for property within their district.  Meetings are held at neighborhood libraries or other County facilities, and are facilitated by DeKalb County staff.

At the Community Council meetings, the public has an opportunity to discuss zoning or land use map amendment applications that will eventually be decided upon by the Board of Commissioners.  After the Community Council meetings, the public has opportunities to comment on applications at public hearings that are held by the Planning Commission and by the Board of Commissioners.

For details about when the next meeting will be held for your zone, click here: We suggest you try to talk to them now BEFORE a cell tower shows up next door to your home or at your child's school. Let's get some answers and try to make our system work the way it was supposed to work - to protect the citizens, especially those who are too young to have a voice to speak up for themselves.

LETTER: Our Letter to Our School Board Rep. Paul Womack - This Issue is Not About One School, it is About All Schools

Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 1:49 PM
Subject: Cell Tower proposal by T-Mobile
(click headline for the full story)
Mr. Womack,

We would like to protest the proposal that was made by T-Mobile to our community at a meeting held at Brockett Elementary School on May 4, 2011. We have copied Thomas Bowen on this email as he is the chairperson. We are also sending a similar letter to Lyndia Maugborne, our school principal. We wish to urge both of you to fairly represent us and vote against the cell tower construction. The focus of our concern involves four areas:

1.) First, T-Mobile has not followed proper procedures of notification to the residents in the affected area or a public forum for discussion by both sides. The parents and guardians of children at the school are not the only ones with a vested interest in the impact the proposed tower would have on the community. Therefore, we object to the improper notification. Even the notice that was given to parents of Brockett Elementary school students was vague and did not convey the true purpose of the meeting.

2.) Second, we object to the cell tower proposal based on issues related to the health and welfare of the residents in the surrounding community including the children who attend Brockett Elementary and other schools as outlined by the cell company proposal.

There has been much research done that indicates prolonged exposure to even at low levels of this radiation causes damage to cell tissue and DNA, and it has been linked to brain tumors, cancer, suppressed immune function, depression, miscarriage, Alzheimer's disease, and numerous other serious illnesses. [1]

Children are at the greatest risk, due to their thinner skulls, and rapid rate of growth. Also at greater risk are the elderly, the frail, and pregnant women. Doctors from the United Kingdom have issued warnings urging children under 16 not to use cell phones, to reduce their exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation. [2]

At the very least, we urge the school board to delay decision until the results of the study by MOBI-KIDS is completed in 2013. This international study will provide insight as to the effects of cellular use on children.

We have read your open letter regarding the need for ethics at this school board and we sincerely hope that you will stand by your words and look at this decision from an ethical perspective, not simply a financial one. Allowing something of this magnitude to fly "under the radar" with parents so that it might be passeed into the hands of a system without a superintendent and a history of mismanaging funds would be a highly distrubing decision. And, to ignore the studies that have been done is irresponsible. The board must consider all available information and put that together with the fact that the simple fear alone that this proposal has generated among those in the community who are aware of it, should be a sign that it is not in the best interest of the school or the children.

Caption for photo at left:
WARNING: Would this be enough warning to keep your 2nd grader from hopping a fence? A T-mobile site we located in Tucker, GA, was found with a warning sign knocked on its side and overgrown shurbs blocking the view. Are these conditions what we can expect once the cell towers go up at our 9 DeKalb Schools? And how many schools will be on the next list? They didn't warn us? What makes you think they might warn you?

3.) Third, we wish to protest the cell tower construction based on the rights of property owners in the surrounding community. The Federal Communications Act of 1996 states that property values and aesthetics are valid reasons for a municipality to deny zoning for a cell tower or antenna. It is our belief that the towers would create an eyesore in the community even if an attempt is made to disguise the tower as a tree. The unsightly tower along with fear of living near one would result in lower property values which, in turn, would lower the amount of property tax collected. A cost / benefit analysis has not been conducted that would take this fact into account.

4.) And, finally, we protest based on the fact that there is not a need for better cellular coverage in our area. T-mobile lists its current strength for both voice and data at or near the strongest levels possible. The coverage can be verified for both voice and data by entering the 30084 zip code on this page: In addition, a pending merger with AT&T would significantly change the needs of T-mobile and could render all agreements to be null & void. I don't know any fair-minded individual who would enter into a contract of this proportion with a company that has publically stated it is in the process of being bought out by another entity and will therefore cease to exist. That's simply bad business.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We will follow this issue closely and urge our friends and neighbors to do the same. We proudly join the growing community of citizens across the country who are standing up to these assaults and helping deciding bodies such as yours to do the right thing for the students and community that lives near and supports the school.

We expect you will take the community and parent protests seriously and consider our messages carefully before rendering the best decision for the future of DeKalb and our children. Brockett Elementary has been a part of our community for 50 years. We hope it will continue to be a source of pride for us, not a reason for us to be forced to abandon our school and possibly even our homes. Please vote 'NO' against any proposal to locate a cell tower at our school, or others in our county. Please make us proud that Paul Womack truly is willing to stand up to any opposition and represent fairly the opinions of the members in his district, with an ethical code that is in tact even where others may fall short.

1 Microwave and Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure, San Francisco Medicine , Vol. 74, No 3, March 2001
2 Mobiles Risk to children, Daily Mail (U.K.), May 11, 2000

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meeting Tonight at MLK, Jr. High School: Open to the Public

Pending final confirmation, a meeting is scheduled for:

Date: Tonight, Tuesday, October 25
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Martin Luther King, Jr. High School

PLEASE NOTE: It is preferred that children do not attend this meeting as it will be covering serious subject matters requiring your attention. If other arrangements cannot be made and your child or children must attend, please plan to bring something with you that will keep them entertained quietly so as to not interrupt the speaker(s) or create a disturbance.

Jay Cunningham, school board member for District 5, will discuss:
* The T-mobile cell tower approval for MLK High School
* Status of Funding and Construction for the Current SPLOST III project (MLK addition)
* SPLOST IV project list

The meeting is open to the public. Parents and members of the communities surrounding the following schools are urged to attend as they are a part of District 5 and decisions made regarding public school property being leased to commercial entities for the sole purpose of making profit from the surrounding communities is an issue that will set a precedent that may affect all schools in the district:

Elementary Schools
Browns Mill ES
Canby Lane ES
Murphey Candler ES
Chapel Hill ES
Edward L. Bouie Theme ES
Fairington ES
* Flat Rock ES
* Narvie Harris ES
Marbut Theme ES
Bob Mathis ES
Rainbow ES
Stoneview ES

Middle Schools

Chapel Hill MS
Columbia MS
Lithonia MS
Miller Grove MS
Salem MS

High Schools
* M.L. King Jr. HS
Lithonia HS
Miller Grove HS
Southwest DeKalb HS

Other Schools, Centers, and Facilities
Arabia Mountain HS
DeKalb Transition Academy
Wesley Chapel Center

* Schools marked with an asterix are already approved for cell towers.

Other cell tower schools that may wish to send parent or community representatives include:
Jolly Elementary School
Lakeside High School
Margaret Harris Comprehensive School
Princeton Elementary School
Briarlake Elementary
Smoke Rise Elementary School

Mr. Jesse Jay Cunningham Jr. Contact Details:
Work Phone: 678.676.0027

Before tonight's meeting at 7 p.m. at MLK, Jr. High School, it is recommended that you watch this video of the school board vote:
Scroll down until you locate the July 11, 2011, work session and business meeting link.
Skip to 2:41:30 in the video.
NOTE: It is important to watch the video as transcripts provided from the meeting are not fully accurate.

And, that you review this article:

And, please read the transcript from the meeting regarding cell towers that was held at Brairlake Elementary School with board member Paul Womack:

Why is Georgia so Behind the Times?

It is frustrating to those of us who are concerned about the DeKalb County School Board's July, 2011 decision to put cell towers at 9 schools (5 elementary, 2 high school, 1 comprehensive school for children with disabilities) to have to constantly debate the issue of health and safety with people who just refuse to believe there could be valid concerns being rasied.

What adds to our frustration is reading news headlines like this one:
REP. FLOREN VOTES TO REQUIRE STATE TO CONSIDER SCHOOLS WHEN SITING CELL TOWERS (HARTFORD). At first it appears we have support for our cause in other states, as the debate is going on all over our country and the globe. Then, we notice this part: April 27th, 2010. Yes, that's right, 2010.

There was legislation introduced in Hartford, CT, in April of 2010 to make sure cell towers could not be sited within 750 feet of a school unless the Siting Council finds that there are no economically feasible alternative sites within the municipality. And the bill passed the House of Representatives unamimously 139-0.

“This cell tower language seeks to put added focus on the safety of children, students, and adults who work in schools first when siting cell towers in the vicinity of these venues,” said Rep. Camillo, a member of the Environment Committee.

So, if we can find news like this online with a simple Google search, why is our school board claiming to have no knowledge about the dangers associated with cell towers and the need to keep them at a safe distance from schools? Why want to make sure we work together for a better DeKalb and reduce our current trends toward over-taxation and increased poverty with declining test scores and high drop-out rates.

Shouldn't we all be on the same side?

(Reprinted in part. See for more details and video. Original by: jdooley Wednesday, April 28th, 2010)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coming to a School Near You - RF Radiation 24/7

ATTN: Do you live near any of these schools? Flat Rock Elementary School, Jolly Elementary School, Lakeside High School, Margaret Harris Comprehensive School, M.L. King, Jr. High School, Narvie Harris Elementary School, Princeton Elementary School, Briarlake Elementary and Smoke Rise Elementary School.

Some international studies profiled on
have found the following symptoms reported by people forced to live near cell tower base stations:

“sleep disorders (58%), headaches (41%), nervousness or distress (19%), fatigue (18%), and concentration difficulties were most common complaints. Complainants related their symptoms most frequently to exposure to mobile phone base stations…”

"...headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, etc. 100m for irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. Women significantly more often than men (p<0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations.”

“People living in the vicinity of base stations report various complaints mostly of the circulatory system, but also of sleep disturbances, irritability, depression, blurred vision, concentration difficulties, nausea, lack of appetite, headache and vertigo.”

"Exposure was associated with discomfort, irritability, appetite loss, fatigue, headache, difficulties concentrating and sleep disturbance."

So, do YOU know where DeKalb County's School Board has allowed T-mobile's next set of cell towers to go? If not, you better check the map below because, chances are pretty good there might be one coming to a school near year. If not, just wait. If the county or the taxpayers do not stand up to this illegal signing of a lease for active school property to a commercial entity without public input, it will become an increasingly easier action to take when they need extra money for a pet project or to cover up money already missing from our general fund.

Click on photo to see enlarged version.

If you have a tower on the way or want to speak up now before it happens to you, please use the link on the left column of this site to sign our petiton. And, call your county and state representatives to let them know that you want to GET THE CELL OUT OF DEKALB COUNTY residentially zoned neighborhoods and public schools!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Follow Us on SCRIBD to Access Important Documents

Click here to review our recent documents available on Scribd.

Save the Date: DCSS Board Meeting: Monday, Nov. 7th, 6 p.m.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Mon., Nov. 7, 6 p.m.
And the SPLOST IV vote will take place on Tues., Nov. 8, anytime your polling place is open. Early voting takes place the week prior.

Do not be fooled by those who would like for you to think you have to vote yes if you want to see changes fully funded for our schools. The people who want a yes are likely expecting a positive outcome for their school, but that is not enough of a reason to justify allocating this much money into the hands of people who will use it for their own personal gain. We can wait until the new superintendent has cleaned house and presented her own plan. The current tax is still in effect through 2012 and SPLOST IV can be revisited down the road.

Remember, it's okay to THINK YES (to education) but VOTE NO (to this SPLOST list that was not prepared by our new superintendent).

We need to push back and force the board to take back the Homestead Exemption so that property owners (the stakeholders in Education) will get a wake-up call. If we do not alert them that this board needs to be voted out, they will likely approved the incumbants and we will still have the corruption in our administrative office that has already cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

We will be bringing a copy of our Get the Cell Out of DeKalb County Schools petition to deliver in hardcopy format to the entire board. A copy will also be sent via certified mail to the Interim Director of Planning and the CEO of our county.

If you have a cell tower coming to your school or community and were not informed about it until it was too late to voice your concerns, we encourage you to attend this meeting and stay around afterwards to speak with the news media that has been following this issue. We are hoping to have a large showing (100-200) at this meeting representing our concerns and requesting reconsideration of the Board's vote on behalf of all the schools that have been named in the T-mobile proposal given to the board in May and rushed to vote in early July.

Here is a link to the July meeting where they voted the cell towers in:
Scroll down until you locate the July 11, 2011, work session and business meeting link.
Once it loads, please skip to 2:41:30 in the video.
Then grab some popcorn, and a notepad and try to follow along.
Take notes on who votes for what and also on what schools are mentioned and which ones are not.
And make note about what is said about the feedback the board has received from each of them.

Show up at least by 5:00 to get on the list to speak. If you have more than one spot already reserved and will be presenting opposition for only one school, please consider checking in with us before the meeting to voluntarily offer any extra spots to any schools that have not been represented. We have to remain united if we wish to save our entire county from this fate. If we are not coordinated in our efforts, the board will seek to divide us and offer deals to only a few. When a tower goes up at one school, it affects all schools as a precedent will be set allowing cell towers, or any other form of commercial enterprise, to operate their for-profit structures on public property actively being used for educational purposes. If you do not have children currently in this system or your school was not selected, thank you for reading our website and keeping tabs with this subject as your school may be next and you need to be prepared. The best way to save your own school or neighborhood from this same fate is to stand up with us and help stop the FIRST TOWER from ever going up. T-mobile will find another location and have to pay taxes like any other commercial operation instead of hiding out on our school grounds and distracting motorists driving near our school or interrupting our children when they are trying to learn or disrupting their sleep patterns if they live nearby as often is reported as a symptom of living near a cell tower.

DeKalb County School System
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Phone: 678.676.1200
Fax: 678.676.0785

School Board policy on public relations:
MISSION: To promote a positive environment in DeKalb County schools in which there is an awareness of, involvement in, and support for the system and its educational mission.

The DeKalb County Board of Education believes (1) that the public schools belong to the people who create them by consent and support them by taxation; (2) that the schools are only as strong as the informed DeKalb citizens and knowledgeable school system staff; and (3) that this support is based on knowledge of, understanding about, and participation in the aims and efforts of the public schools.

The Board affirms, through policies and goals, its commitment (1) to keep the citizens and staff of the system regularly and accurately informed, through appropriate means of communication, about policies, programs, problems, and planning of the school system; (2) to solicit the advice and counsel of parents, students, staff, and others on basic issues through appropriate channels (such as Parent Teacher Associations, advisory councils, and other community groups); (3) to charge the administrative, instructional, and operational staff with the duty to carry out this policy as an integral part of regular activities and responsibilities; and (4) to cooperate with the news media as the primary purveyors of public information, recognizing their right to all the facts and their obligation to publish them in a responsible manner.

Parents, students, staff, and others may, at any time, offer suggestions on policies by submitting in writing the suggested additions, changes, or deletions, to the policies to the office of the Superintendent for consideration and possible recommendation to the Board.

LETTERS TO OUR LEADERS: Hello. Is there anybody out there?

From time to time, with permission, we will print examples of some real letters that have been sent to our various school board, county and state oficials. These letters are offered as examples of the support we are receiving for our countywide, combined effort to stop cell towers from being placed on public school proerty.

Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter was formed to help inform the parents and community members surrounding 12 schools named by T-mobile in a proposal submitted to our school board. The board elected to approve towers for 9 of those schools properties for a lease of 30 years each. These 2 high schools, 1 comprehensive school and 6 elementary schools will have to give up a large 60' x 60' square area (larger than a typical house in most areas) and endure round the clock mainenance of a structure that is 150' tall (taller than the tallest tree).

These spaces are ones that are on campuses currently in use and supported by taxpayers. The lease will allow a corporate entity (T-mobile) to avoid certain commercial taxes, avoid following the county's approved regulations for the siting of cell towers and avoid public notification and input into the process.

To date, the final, signed lease agreement has not been posted by the school board for inspection or review as is required by the Georgia Open Records Law despire written requests send by at least two individuals in the county working with GTCO-ATL.

In addition, the board may have violated several state rules regarding use of active school property for commercial purposes, informing the community about issues of controversy in order to provide public input before rendering a decision and voting on a matter not related to education by board members who have a personal stake in the outcome.

By remaining quiet about this issue, other communities may soon find their own school on a similar list this year as the precedent shall be set if there is no strong protest or opposition to the actions that have alredy taken place. If you are disturbed by this idea, please take the time today to email, write or call your elected officials. And, please don't foget to sign our countywide petition. You may indicate a specific school in your comments if you wish to identify your specific concern. The petition can be found at the top, left of our page or directly at

Here are our first few exerpts. As a special note, the fist note helped restore our faith that there are still people out there who are willing to stand up for what is right, so thank you to its author!

____________D e a r J a y _______________________________

Oct. 10, 2011

Dear Jay, (cc to all other board members)
... (letter edited for privacy and for space constraints)

I and my neighbors are strongly opposed to the proposed T-mobile cell phone tower and very disturbed by the fact that the directly affected neighborhoods (Meadowbrook Glen, Dogwood Manor, Rivermist, Dogwood Hills) were not made aware of this beforehand. When we walk around the school down to the nature trail, there are no signs posted about the proposed cell phone tower as signs are normally be posted for other proposed developments. For your information, when MLK H.S. was being planned, we invited Dr. Stan Pritchard to our homeowner meeting and he who showed us the plans and answered our questions. We suggested another access road to alleviate traffic which was built as the back entrance to the school. With this cell phone tower project, we were not extended the same courtesy. Hence, you all are now experiencing an uproar or backlash which could have been avoided.
Additionally, property values in zip code 30038 have severely declined over the past few years. A cell phone tower located in a residential area will surely have a negative effect on the value of our property. I understand the school may receive a small amount of money over a long period of time from this arrangement but I don't think it's worth it. Surely there are other ways to get revenue for the school that will keep intact a positive relationship with property owners who fund the school system.
If you all decided to not build these towers at other schools that were on the original list of 12 you should have decided not to do it at the remaining 9 schools. I would say none of these towers need to be built in residential areas. The cellphone companies do have other options. Someone suggested this as an easier way and did not think of or care about the residual effect on the community because they don't live here. But we do and you do. The school and the community are one. We see you at church, in the grocery store, at the mall, etc. By the way, when I shop, I stay local (in Dekalb county) so that my tax dollars go to support our schools and facilities.
I have lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years. I love MLK H. S. and the area. That's why we stayed here when we could have gone elsewhere. You must consider the neighborhoods that would be affected by this project and listen to their concerns. It is only the right thing to do. It's hard trying to keep up with all of these issues when you work full time to support your family and I shouldn't have to take off from work to voice my opinion to you in one of your meetings but I will if that is the only way you will believe that we are opposed to this project. This is very important to me.

____________D e a r M s. T y s o n _______________________________

July 7, 2011

Dear Ms. Tyson, (edited for privacy and space concerns)

I am writing to you because my prior letters to my principal,
representative and super-district representative have not been responded
to and I am hoping you can help.
I am having difficulty determining when you are expected to have a
discussion and possible vote regarding the 12 cell towers proposed for
DeKalb County. I have submitted a request to Mr. Donahue for a copy of the proposal so that the parents and the public may see it. We cannot be asked to assume a risk without even knowing what the benefits may be. Perhaps
it would shed light on the reason you would even consider this proposal,
but in my opinion, my child's health is not worth any amount of money,
especially since coverage in our area for cell service is fine.
The money being offered does not compare to what they would have to pay
for a commercial location and, even at that we have not even seen what
kind of money they have even offered. Please do not be the board that goes down in our history for allowing a bad business deal go through. You could harm our children and it will lead to lower enrollment which could eventually close our schools.
Cell towers have nothing to do with education. They are dangerous structures that have been known to fall over, contain HAZMAT materials at the base and produce RF radiation which is a known carcinigen at high levels and a possible carcinigen at low levels. They invite strangers to our
schools on a 24/7 full access basis, they present traffic problem, noise
problems, lighting problems, dangers from falling debris. They are not
wanted by the neighborhoods and will cause further decline in our
property values and further decline in our belief in our school system.
Please do the right thing and remove this agenda item permanently. All
eyes are on you now. Please do the right thing.

_________ More to Come _____________________

Federal standard for cellphone radiation underestimates impact on kids -- report

(Monday, October 17, 2011) Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter
Reprinted with permission from Greenwire, a division of E&E Publishing, LLC

The federal standard for measuring how much radiation humans absorb from cellphones is outdated and grossly underestimates the amount smaller adults and children retain, according to a study released today by a nonprofit advocacy group.

Researchers from the Environmental Health Trust say the finding raises significant questions about the potential health risks associated with cellphone use, particularly in children.

Devra Davis, formerly a Clinton administration adviser at the Health and Human Services Department and one of the paper's authors, said the Federal Communications Commission's current exposure limit for the maximum amount of cellphone radiation that will be absorbed into the brain and other parts of the body is based on a model using a 6-foot-2-inch 220-pound male.

That test, which Davis said was designed by industry, fails to take into account the larger impact radiation has on smaller adults and children.

"Right now the standards for all cellphones are based on a large and tall man," Davis said. "It's not relevant to toddlers and babies. ... They have absolutely no idea that they phones were never tested for them."

Davis also pointed out other flaws in the test's methodologies.

"The current standard is based on how long it takes to heat up a starving rat to get it to stop trying to find food," Davis said.

The study, which is published today in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, also found that children may absorb twice as much radiation in their heads than adults.

The research comes as there has been increased focus on whether cellphone radiation may cause cancer and other illnesses.

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the radiation is "possibly carcinogenic" in humans, putting it third in WHO's risk hierarchy behind "carcinogenic" and "probably carcinogenic," (E&ENews PM, May 31).

That finding sent shock waves through the environmental and public health community. Scientific experts, however, have questioned whether cellphone radiation is associated with cancer. They have noted that the rate of brain cancers worldwide has not risen in correlation with the uptick in cellphone use. They have also said it is unclear how cellphone radiation affects human cells and, therefore, causes cancer.

Davis said FCC should switch to another radiation testing model that is already employed by the Food and Drug Administration. The alternative process uses an MRI to scan for radiation in every human tissue. It also uses a "virtual family" of test subjects, including children of multiple ages, adult men and women, as well as women who are at different stages of pregnancy.

FCC reviewed that process in 2001, Davis said, but has yet to implement it.

"They've approved a new standard and reviewed it," Davis said. "It's more precise and uses anatomically correct models."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DeKalb County - Why Bother? Why Care?

Well, here we are again. Back to square one. After fighting and campaigning against the cell tower that our DeKalb County School Board wanted to place at our child’s elementary school, my husband and I learned that our public school system is a lot different than what we expected it would be. After speaking up in an attempt to alert the other communities that were not as fortunate as we were to get our school removed from the list, we learned a lot more about school politics. The more we learn, the more we are forced to see the difference between our hopes and the reality that is DeKalb.

It isn’t really the fault of the community. They are doing the best they can to support our schools, but without children in attendance, how are they supposed to know what type of help the schools might need? In the past, children went door to door selling candy or magazines, with or without parents in tow. It gave neighbors a chance to contribute to a worthy cause, support the children and the neighborhood school and also learn about what was going on inside the school.

Neighbors felt more connected to each other back then. And, children learned some basic lessons about America - offer a good product at a reasonable price to people you know can afford it. Build trust with your customers and your efforts can do amazing things, especially when combined with similar hard work from the others on your team. And, by working extra hard, you might be rewarded personally with prizes and recognition from your peers.

These days, our schools are filled with children that come from all over the county and are more likely to transfer or drop out than they are to graduate. Neighbors who live near our schools may still believe their tax dollars are being directed toward helping the kids from the block, which would in turn help maintain or boost everyone’s property values nearby, including their own. That’s the way things used to work, right? That’s the way it is supposed to work.

I’m sure the Realtors are likely still using their same, worn-out sales pitches to tell potential homebuyers about the test scores and demographics that make up the nearby school as a way to justify the price or quality of “desirable” neighborhoods. I’m less sure they are including the page of information that includes recent trends because there probably are a bunch of arrows going in the wrong direction. The number of students considered at or below poverty level is growing and might soon be the picture we paint when talking about all of our schools if current trends continue.

We all make assumptions about how we think things are working because it might be too heavy of a dose of guilt if we allowed ourselves to see how things are really working. But, that isn’t really our fault, either. You can’t blame people for wanting to think positive, believe in the good nature of others or pray for a miracle. But, then again, when you have a system that is failing children, it is essentially failing all of us, past, present and future.

Failure to meet educational goals is a failure to respect our own history. As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are also disgracing his name. The high school in our own county that is named for the iconic civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, was selected by some unknown criteria to receive a cell tower on school property and the public was not properly notified.

Once we were able to finally get in touch with some people in the community in Lithonia to tell them about what was going on, they were ready to take action. They quickly organized an informational meeting and prepared to invite the community leaders to explain their actions. There was even talk of a peaceful protest, homemade signs, media coverage… but then they decided to cancel the meeting until further notice.

It seems that these days, even peaceful protesting will not get you very far. Just look at the Occupy Atlanta Group. They started out getting a lot of attenton, but when everyone realized that they would not really be making any demands and had no real exit strategy, the group sort of lost its appeal. It's hard to support a team you don't expect to win. It's even harder to protest something when it feels like you have already lost. But, we have been down this road before. And, we have learned that we are not alone. There are a lot of people who feel the same way we do, and our petition has never lost its forward momentum so we know that the more people we tell about what has happened, the more people will be prepared when it happens to them.

“They said it is a done deal,” said on GTCO-ATL member who had hoped to get some answers from the local board. “We are going to keep trying to figure out how this could have happened, but it sounds like it is already a done deal.”

So that leads us to question the future of our county, our schools, our collective dreams about the Atlanta we thought we knew. We were so proud to be a part of a great city that would show the rest of America that it is possible to live side by side with each other, integrating our schools, learning about each other’s cultures, educating and caring for all our children.

We never expected that our schools, of all things, would be the beginning of the downfall of our the prestige and momentum this city was gaining after hosting the Olympics in 1996. We never heard of SPLOST and didn’t know anyone who had ever been foreclosed on, or laid off or “furloughed.”

So, let us know what you think. Is this a fight worth continuing? Is there a way to get our government to pay attention and stop taking advantage of all of us? Is there any hope we can stop fighting among ourselves long enough to see the big picture so we can unite instead?

Do you realize that once a single tower goes up at a school, a door will have been opened for the school board to place any kind of commercial business they want on ACTIVE school property whenever they want? And with the no-zoning laws, they can select any type of business they want, even if it is offensive, dangerous or an eyesore that drags property values down.

They don’t care, but they don’t live here. We do. They don’t care, but it’s not their money. It’s ours and we just keep giving them more. They don’t care; they’re rich. Are you?

As we consider the options before us and we continue to make new friends along the way, we will be asking ourselves the same question we have asked so many time, "What can we do?" I hope that somehow that spirit will be contagious enough that you might ask yourself the same question. And, perhaps together we might be insired and lucky enough at the same time to find something that works!

IMPORTANT: Please urge your neighbors and friends to VOTE NO ON SPLOST IV on November 8, 2011.
Stop funding the projects of the people who did this to us.

Caption 1: Kids at Stone Mountain Playground help tell others about a cell tower coming to their school courtesy of T-mobile, DCSS and something called an "Administrative Permit" that means the public does not have a say in the zoning process and the schools are exempt from regulation.

Caption 2: A very large cell tower mast already functioning in DeKalb County and registered to AT&T. Where is it located? About .25 miles down the road from an elementary school that will also be getting a tower on their property and wi-fi in their classroom if the school board gets its way. The cumulative effects of multiple sources of low-level RF radiation is the subject of controversy as it has not been studied, is barely regulated and is suspected by the World Health Organization to be a possible human carcinigen that can lead to a variety of forms of cancer. It's effects on chilren are unknown but suspected to be more harmful as RF radiation attacks DNA cells and causes damage to them. These are the cells that children are still developing as their systems are not fully developed and are rapidly growing. In addition to cancer, a long list of symptoms are known to degrade the quality of life of those who are forced to live near a cell tower or attend a school that has one.

To the MLK, Jr. High School Community: Keep Up the Great Work!

Making a pledge to support our efforts to unite the county against the unfair lease agreement signed by the school board that will place cell towers at 9 of our schools, some dedicated community members are working together to spread the word and encourage people to sign our petition.

The kids at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School should be proud of their community and are encouraged to download the blank petition sheets from our website so that they can help the cause, too.

We have a goal of 100 signatures per school, so get out there and tell people about the issue, the petition and remind them to vote NO on SPLOST IV!

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)

Lakeside's "Mullet" (business in the front, party in the back)

What exactly is going on here? If anyone in the Lakeside community can explain the appearance of this strange cell tower, please enlighten us!

Looks like it is all T-mobile official business in the front.

But a whole lot more is posted on the back.

Wonder if any of those signs were meant for the people who keep taking photos of this strange tower? Why is that pole put on crooked? What is this thing anyway? Anyone?

Wi-Fi and Your Child’s Health:


Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter

Wi-Fi and Your Child’s Health:
What DeKalb Parents Should Know

DEKALB COUNTY, GA: Tuesday, October 18, 2011: As the vote for E-SPLOST IV

approaches, there is one item on the wish list submitted by the DeKalb County School

Board that has parents taking a closer look at how their children’s health might be

affected. The issue is Wi-Fi in the classroom and there is significant evidence from its

implementation in other school districts that this technology may bring more harm than

good to our classrooms.

“Wi-Fi systems emit the same form of radiation as cell towers,” says Cheryl

Miller, co-founder and President of a countywide non-profit group Get the Cell Out -

Atlanta Chapter. She says that school boards can no longer assume wi-fi is safe after

the World Health Organization has called the low level radiation exposure a possible

human carcinogen listed in the same category as DEET insecticide and lead-based paint.

Microwave exposure is linked to infertility, erratic heart rates, learning impairment,

behavioral changes, leukemia and cancer, especially in children.

Across the globe, schools are starting to plug back in after students started

reporting various symptoms that could only be explained by the introduction of wireless

technology into their classrooms.

According to the Center for Safer Wireless, children in schools with wi-fi

technology have reported the following symptoms:

* Headaches (3-5X per week, that require medicine)
* Dizziness - Nausea - Vertigo (gone after student leaves the school)
* Visual and Auditory Distortion
* Racing Heart Rate (Tachycardia)
* Memory Loss (difficulty remembering school information)
* Attention Deficit (difficulty concentrating while in class)
* Skin Rash (mostly lower leg, goes away on weekends or longer breaks)
* Hyperactivity (appears mostly among children not previously hyperactive)
* Night Sweats (unexplainable, unrelated to fever, and lasting several nights)
* Insomnia (restless sleep)

In France and the U.K., wi-fi systems are being dismantled and banned from

primary schools. Germany has issued a country-wide warning to all of its citizens about

the dangers of wi-fi.

Miller states that the cell tower issue is not a fight about technology. “The

response the school board is getting from the schools affected by the cell tower vote is

that it is not okay to ignore the concerns of the districts they serve,” she said. “By not

following their own rules that call for public forums to gain community input before

making a decision, they are sending a message to the parents and taxpayers that they do

not care. That is not acceptable.”

Miller states her group advocates using the power of the vote to let school board

leaders know they will be held accountable by the people they were elected to serve.

“This is not the way to run an efficient school system,” she says. “We have been

left with no other option than to open our eyes to what is going on countywide and stop

being the enabler in this dysfunctional relationship.

Vote No and make them roll up their sleeves and really do their jobs. If they find

money is the only problem that has not been fixed, they will come back to us in a few

months with a cleaned up proposal that is fully justified and contains needs, not fluff.”

For more information about the cell tower issue as well as concerns about wi-fi in

schools, visit the official website for Get the Cell Out - Atlanta Chapter, or send an email to



Wednesday, October 12, 2011


We will encourage everyone at a school or neighborhood slated for a cell tower to vote NO ON SPLOST IV on November 8. Why? For starters, because your BOE decided to lock you into a 30 year deal for a dangerous cell tower on public school property without even asking you if it was okay. Then, they pulled a card out of their bag of tricks to again deny you the chance to be heard at the county zoning level by claiming they are exempt from the normal zoning process. Yet school board officials and county commissioners have not been able to tell us what specific law they are referring to when they are making this claim.

So, not only do they not wish to consider your input on a major decision that could affect your health, your property value and your safety from strangers in your neighborhood and at your school, they also wish to completely silence you from being heard at all, even as a courtesy, in a public comments portion of a zoning meeting.

They negotiated the cell tower contract to bring in merely $400 a month, when the average price T-mobile pays elsewhere, like in Gwinett County, is between $2,000 and $3,000 a month for county property leases. While early rumors had some schools expecting they might see substantial benefit from a tower, they have more recently learned that all the tower income will be deposited directy into the DCSS general fund.

One board member, Paul Womack, reported to parents and community members in the Briarlake neighborhood in Decatur that DeKalb is in such "good shape" financially that the cell tower proposal was not even about the money. He claims that the main purpose was to improve the cell service at Lakeside High School. As a side note, the topic was originally introduced to DCSS by a board member who served the Lakeside community and is now a member of the school's booster club, The Valhalla Project. See: Unlike the other schools receiving towers, Lakeside will allow the booster to direct any tower money that may be allocated for renovation projects, rather than the PTA.

What we cannot understand is why it takes 12 schools spread out across the county to improve the dropped call ratios at Lakeside. And, why is the school board suddenly feeling so commpelled to solve this issue when students are not even supposed to use their cell phones on campus? Verizon coverage seems to be fine in the area, so perhaps there are other business connections between Lakeside and T-mobile or AT&T.

If you would like to read the transcribed conversation that took place between Mr. Womack and the people in his district who turned out for a meeting after the vote was already rendered and the contracts were signed. Many of these people had not been informed about the cell tower proposal until it was too late to even voice their opinions. (See partial transcript below.)

We are republishing the transcipt as a reminder of how much our board believes they can operate without even caring about public opinion. If you are as mad as we are when you read Womack state, “I really don’t care.” Or, “If I said yes, it would be a lie, if I said no, it would be a lie,” then please join us in sending them a clear message:

“If you want more money from us, we are not going to just hand it over for you to do whatever you want to with it. You will have to take it from us by way of property taxes or whatever means you feel justify your actions, but we will not hand over our money until you start listening to the people you were elected to serve. You will have to take the money from us, just like criminals. You are cut off until you start following your own rules and doing the job you were elected to do – educate our children. Stop foolish spending. Stop selling out our children. Stop helping your corporate buddies. Start doing what is right or step down."

Here is the transcript as promised:
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Meeting with Paul Womack at Briarlake Elementary School

Transcript of Meeting Between School Board Vice Chair Paul Womack and Concerned Parents and Residents discussing the cell towers.

Transcription of 8/31/11 (Reprinted with permission from DeKalb School Watch Blog.) Womack = Paul Womack, elected again in 2008, having served for twelve years in the 1970s, currently District 4 Rep - School Board Vice Chair / Acting Chair During July 11 board meeting in which a contract was agreed to that will put cell towers at 9 public schools in DeKalb County. Womack is the district representative for 5 schools on the original list of 12: Lakeside, Briarlake, Brockett, Jolly and Princeton.

Interesting to note that this meeting was assembled on short notice within about two days time and 22 people attended, many of whom were not actually invited and the meeting hosts were unsure how they even found out about it. The meeting that was held in May regarding T-mobile’s proposal that Mr. Womack mentions in the transcript below, was supposedly highly publicized and every attempt was made to let the community know about it. That meeting had only 3 attendees from Briarlake. (The Lakeside meeting was held at the same time one mile away.) The Brockett meeting had 5.

Womack: You can use [the money from T-Mobile] for improvements, things for the school, room parties, things like that. It’s up the community how you’re going to spend that $25,000. There has been no location so far. They have looked at a couple of sites, but I have been assured by T-Mobile that the community will be able to say yeah or nay as to the actual placement. Questions?

F1: The literature from the World Health Organization from December, 2010, mentioning the RF that comes from cell phones as inconclusive regarding damage as well as the RF from cell phone towers. Five months later they came out with a major study that’s conclusive that long-term usage of cell phones can be (damaging). There’s also a study due out in 2013 about cell phone towers and exposure to those. Shouldn’t we consider waiting until…

Womack: (Steps on speaker)The contract has already been signed. That’s a given. Uh, you get more radiation from your microwave than you do...

F1: But that’s not constant exposure.

Womack: I understand, but when you use this, that’s your choice. That will not be your choice. (chatter) Excuse me, one at a time, please. One at a time. Uh, I can’t say that that study is right or wrong, but I know that the federal government says that it cannot be taken into consideration. But there is no concrete, proven fact. I haven’t seen that study, but I will ask the administration to look at it. I will get an answer.

F2: Will you take a look at this study of dairy cows in Germany? It shows a verifiable link between the RF emissions and the cow’s behavior. They were aborting their calves, not producing enough milk, and when they were removed from that range, everything went to normal.

Womack: Ok. Now you had a comment back there.

F2: Well, my point is, if this is such a controversial issue, why are we taking the risk with our children? Aren’t we supposed to protect children?

Womack: Your name is…

F2: (Answers) I’m just concerned that we are thinking “oh we’re going to get all this money, so that makes it ok”.

Womack: No. It doesn’t. We held a seminar here. We advertised it for a month. Put it on the website. The community was told, but everybody said, “oh it was the end of school, we didn’t have time”. We had about ten people that showed up for that presentation from T-Mobile. And I only heard one question during that presentation that was anywhere in voicing a concern. And the community over at Medlock voiced major concern and we took it off of the contract. But their voice was not from the safety, they were mad because Medlock had been closed. They didn’t want any encroachment. We’ve tried to follow what communities wanted and very frankly, I’ve only had 4 or 5 questions out of this community as to whether it was safe, why did you do it. If the community does not speak up, I can only support or not support what I’m hearing.

F3: I have a comment. Many people didn’t come, because they didn’t know. Now that people know, I understand that this took place in the summer.

Womack: There was a presentation on May 3.

F3: There was a presentation but it didn’t discuss cell towers on this property.

F4: You’re right here in my neighborhood, in my backyard. I didn’t know anything about this. I’ve spoken with several of my neighbors and nobody knew anything about it. Nobody let our neighborhood know anything about any possibility of there being any cell phone towers right in our backyard. It’s the first time we’ve known about it right after your vote.

Womack: I’m sorry.

M1: Well it looks like now, it’s a done deal

Womack: It is a done deal.

F4: Unless there’s a protect order.

Womack: That won’t happen cause the county has come to us to ask how we did it cause they want to do it too. (arguing ensues)

F4: If you did it before we had a chance to know about it that was

Womack: It was on television before the vote, on all of the stations.

F4: What stations?

Womack: The television stations ma’am. It was out in the public. I can only do what I hear, not what I’m hearing after the fact.

F4: Well, if we didn’t know before the fact, then what could we say before the fact?

F5: I could find nothing online.

Womack: Well, it was on our site. It was publicized through… We had sent notices to uh, I don’t know what to tell you on that.

F5: During the vote on July 11, during the meeting it was brought to your attention that the community was not aware of this. I am very involved in the schools and I was not aware of this.

Womack: I don't know what to tell you.

F5: I do know that you pushed the vote through.

Womack: Yes

F5: You opted. Your name in the meeting minutes opted to push the vote through.

Womack: Yes

F5: And you say that the contract is now signed, but we’re saying that we didn’t know. You’re telling us we did, but I’m telling you that no, I did not.

Womack: Well, I don’t know how to get it out anymore than we tried. I don’t have the resources personally to do this. We asked the administration to post it on the site. I do know that we got it out the best we could. And I don’t care what issue it comes to a community, part is going to have it and part is not.

M2: I realize that, but at the same time, the procedures that have been used at least since the Roosevelt administration, whenever we have an issue of public necessity, vs the rights of private citizens affected by that alleged necessity, is that we have a period of adequate notice – sufficient to get the message to the members of the community that are affected. I’m just saying that if all you did was notify the PTA and you’re planning on putting a 150’ cell phone tower that’s 50 feet from my property line? And it’s my property value that’s going to be affected, then you need to notify me and other members of the community that are affected. I back up to the playground of this establishment.

Womack: One of your neighbors, I discussed it with him because he, uh, came. And I asked him, “what’s your interest?” And I said, “are you concerned?” and he said, “Oh, no. no.” He said, “I’ve put cell towers up all over the country. Now you may know who I’m talking about, somebody right around here. I live, not quite as close as you are. I don’t know what to tell you. I didn’t know why you didn’t know it because we tried to get the message out.

F6: Well, I’m right next door. We have a neighborhood alert. We have a newsletter. We have an email alert for the neighborhood. Nobody in our neighborhood knows about it and we are immediately next door. My property line is exactly next to the property line of this school. Nobody in my neighborhood knew anything about it. Not a thing.

Womack: Well, I don’t know what to say to you. We tried to get it out.

M2: Did you put signs up? I mean, did you put any signs?

Womack: No, no we did not. We did not. No.

F6: So, one meeting and that’s it? You had like one meeting and pushed it through? Is that what happened? I mean that’s what it sounds…

Womack: Well, actually, yes, I would say that is the fact of the matter, yes.

F6:That doesn’t seem right.

M3: I’d like to try to suggest a rationale for why what happened did happen. We are at a time when our county is looking for sources of revenue to keep the schools open, not have to cut services while politically it’s the wrong time to be raising taxes and here was a chance to get a hold of a cool, free half a million bucks and if we went and got this thing done without making a lot of noise, it was gonna happen and the county and the school board was willing to take the risk that there wouldn’t be a couple of lawyers living next door that might somehow find their way there might be a rite of notice and run down to the courthouse. And that’s what happened.

Womack: Well, let me, let me respond to the taxes. The school board does not raise taxes… since 2000. Ah, I was chairmen of the Budget Committee we cut 104 million dollars out of the budget. A lot of it was in the area that most people were concerned about. And that was in staff. And we got rid of a lot of things that we shouldn’t have. That we know of. This year the administration was pushing through another budget and I was able to stop it. I’m vice chair. And we cut another 15 million. We are not going into the classroom. We have increased the number of students. But we have, I think, as good of a fiscal record as any school system, probably better than most. We did not do what the county did - raise property taxes, what? 28 percent? We didn’t do that. But you know, I don’t really buy that the community did not know because Medlock and a couple of areas around the county found out. They had to have knowledge because they came to the board and said, “No.” And the board said, “Ok.” We listen you. But nobody came to, from this community and said “no.”

F7: I am new to Decatur, and I met a parent from Medlock. And, I knew nothing about the cell towers at the school before I met her and she described to me a wooing relationship with T-mobile. That they came several times and tried to tell them how good it would be, and this was before the school closed, how good it would be for the community, how, ah, they could make it look like a water tower and not like a cell tower, that it could have their mascot painted on it, and so they, in the process of wooing the community alienated the community. And that’s what I understood from this parent.

Womack: Well, that could very well be true. Yes sir?

M4: Just curious, I’m sorry. I was a little late. You may have discussed it earlier. If it is not a good decision for the three schools that you pulled off the list, and I saw this in a report I recently read and the person in that article quoted a board member as saying if they heard anything at all, then how does the logic follow through that it is a good idea for the other schools?

Womack: The, the, uh, answer to that, maybe, maybe. It was that the community came forth and said we just don’t want it. That was, that was before the vote, sir.

F5: But, you can change the vote, right? You can bring it back up?

Womack: No, no. The contracts have been signed. I’m sorry.

F5: Well, don’t you think if other schools were had a quite a lengthier notice because of T-mobile and.. and we didn’t have any interaction with the school so we didn’t have any notice.

Womack: I can’t answer that. I can’t give you an honest answer about that. If I said “yes” it would be a lie, if I said “no” it would be a lie.

F5: Well, just personally, I’m just amazed that those other schools were that together and were there at that meeting. And were, you know, in the…

Womack: They voiced it to their, their, their local boards

F5: And so, in this report of that meeting, you know, there’s all this stuff about how this school and that school went to the community and this school doesn‘t want it … and it says that cell phone towers especially near developing children could be a danger. Is there a provision in this 15-year contract if there is something in there that is damaging to children? Is there some sort of break off?

Womack: I don’t know about that. If you would make just a little note for me and I will try to get you an answer.

F5: Okay

Womack: But, I can assure you, just as one board member, if this thing proves to be detrimental, and not, uh, an eyesore, if this were detrimental to kids the board would move to break the contract.
(mumbled talking in background)

So, everything we’ve seen so far and I’ve told you the FC - the Federal Communications Act says health cannot be … it is updated… look, I can’t give you the answer. Look either you are in FAVOR of this, or you are not. Yes sir?

M5: Then I have a question. If this is a private company and it’s not a question of public perception. And if a private company can go buy private property somewhere.

Womack: Yes sir.

M5: And it wasn’t a matter of money as you said so there in your speech a while ago, then what was so seductive about this particular proposal that you had to go for it and after there are three major objections and sneak it through as you did.

Womack: We did NOT sneak it through, sir. That’s your definition. We did not sneak it through at all. The seductive part is we have poor cell service in here. Over at Lakeside. Over at Lakeside. There is no police. There’s no fire. There is no cell service across from Briarcliff almost all the way down to Clairemont and back down a great degree down… (unintelligible name of a road). And in the school last year they had a young lady that had a seizure. And that community wants a cell phone.

F7: They don’t have a land line?

Womack: They did, uh, it happened outside. And it took them something like 10 minutes to get from where they were inside because they were trying to take care of her and the seizure she had.

(His cell phone started beeping. - which was a little amusing since he was just making the point about no cell service in the area)

Excuse me. (He reaches into pocket, takes out phone and turns it off.)
Yes sir?

M6: Can, can you generally explain the electromagnetic spectrum and tell us why 120 towers isn’t sufficient for coverage?

Womack: No sir, I can’t.

M6: Because it doesn’t make any sense to have more.

Womack: You have a cell tower right down here at, uh, at uh, Oak Grove and Lavista.

M6: Here you can have the addresses. I’ll give this to, you can have the addresses of where all the towers are at.

Womack: I’ve seen that. And, I know we’ve got a lot of cells in here. But the cells - break out.

M6: How?

Womack: Sir, that’s a technical question and I’m not prepared and I will not discuss it and I am not talking about it.

M6: But, you made the decision to put the tower in. Without knowing? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

Womack: That doesn’t have anything to do with…

M6: (Angry) It has everything to do with our children!

Womack: We have very limited cell service in this area.

M6: Do you want me to tell you why it is that way?

Womack: Why?

M6: Because they’ve jumbled the airwaves with all the towers in. You’ve got asymmetrical lines and you’ve got symmetrical lines. Asymmetrical are for residential areas, meaning we take in…

Womack: You’re the expert, sir. I’m not …

M6: Well then I should have made the decision! And I would have said No! Because, to me, 120 is pretty sufficient!

Womack: Okay, sir, you’ve made your point.

M6: Thank you. Appreciate it.

F8: … (unintelligible - lots of talking going on in background)… and when did the school system start making decisions about cell phone coverage?

Womack: This started, I guess, last, um, about mid-last year, well, I guess.. And we, uh, discussed it in a couple of board meetings best I can remember… lightly, not heavy, but lightly. And we said, “We have to go to the community.” And, we did that as best we could. I’m sorry we did not contact your association.

F8: Well, I would like to know where did you go?

Womack: Well, Maam’ I can’t… I can’t answer that. I’m not gonna go knock on your door and say, “Hey, we gonna put..

F8: I’m not asking you for that, but what I am asking is that you go to the neighborhood that is immediately next door and give us some kind of notice.

M7: Mr. Womack, you could have done what’s standard for zoning issues, which is that..

Womack: Post a notice out here?

F8: Exactly!

M7: You could have put up a large sign that everybody notices …

Womack: Look, we relied on our website. I’m sorry we didn’t do our job as well as we should. But, let me tell you something, whether you like what I’m going to tell you or not, I really don’t care…

M7: Obviously!

(more mumbling from audience)

F9: That’s the problem!

Womack: That is not the problem.

F9: That IS the problem!

Womack: Ma’am, when you set in my seat and you’re pulled as many ways as I’ve been pulled since I came back on this board, you would run from this job.

F9: (Angry) That was your choice! That’s not my problem. I did not force you to do that!

Womack: I understand, Ma’am. And I’m not debate that with you. You’ve got your life… I’m not, because I paid to get this job and the community asked me to do it. Now…

F9: Then don’t complain!

Womack: It is the most important job there is in the state. The school board. Because it’s charged with educating the future leaders of this country. If we fall down, the community falls down. I’m sorry that you did not get the notice that you wanted.

F9: No notice.

Womack: I said I am sorry you didn’t get it! I’m not going to play on the words. Yes, ma’am?

F10: Um, I’m not going to say if it is right or wrong because it sounds like it’s already a done deal and really there is no sense arguing over it at this point unless you’re going to bring it to court. From that vantage point, my question really comes to you is that if this was about money for the cell towers, is there any sort of written information as far as how much Briarlake is going to get for it?

Womack: $25,000

F10: And that’s it? Out of that $250…

F11: $450 (others also chime in with $450,000)

Womack: $450. Now if they put another cell phone, uh, carrier up there, you get an additional $25.

M8: But, by law, don’t they have to fill the other 120? Don’t they have to co-locate? Or do you not know the laws on that either?

Womack: Sir, I don’t know the answer. You’re an expert in the math and things..

M8: Yeah, I am, and I will be more than happy to tell ya… you’re skirting the law!

F11: That’s right!

Womack: You need to talk to our people. I’ll be glad to open that door for you.

M8:Oh yeah, I’d appreciate that. Thanks.