The Raider Review

Community Debates Cell Phone Tower at ERHS

Rokhaya Niang

Nora Stewart, Co-Editor in Chief

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Eleanor Roosevelt High School has become the center of a recent debate on the construction of a cellphone tower on school grounds, which has sparked community outrage and protests from teachers, Greenbelt residents, and the Greenbelt City Council.

Construction of the tower is being facilitated by a company called Milestone Communications, which has also spearheaded the construction of towers at schools such as Corkran Middle School, in Anne Arundel County. ERHS has been a potential site for a tower since 2014, when the Greenbelt City Council set a letter to County Executive Rushern Baker III opposing the proposal, according to The Washington Post.

Much of the community outrage stems from concerns about the possible effects the tower may have on residents’, teachers’, and students’ health, due to radiation. While the American Cancer Society currently reports that the ground-level radiation emitted by such towers is no more dangerous than having a cellphone itself, some scientists have expressed concern that the radiation does indeed serve as a carcinogen, and may have long term effects that are difficult to assess at this time.

The Prince George’s County School System entered into an agreement with Milestone regarding construction of cell towers in 2011, and receives $25,000 from the construction of each tower, as well as 40% of each tower’s gross revenue. The school system also estimated that the agreement could yield $2.5 million over five years. This contract was renewed last year, according to The Sentinel.

Similar towers were proposed for sites on Wootton High School in Montgomery County and Piney Orchard Elementary School in Anne Arundel County. However, due to community concerns and protests, the plans were canceled.

Greenbelt residents have also expressed concerns regarding how the tower will affect property values in an area whose schools rely on a strong tax base.

The Board of Education will meet in Upper Marlboro to discuss this issue at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 11.

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Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper
Community Debates Cell Phone Tower at ERHS