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Wyandotte school adds 5G cellphone tower, congressional member gets involved

Wyandotte school adds 5G cellphone tower, congressional member gets involved
Wyandotte school adds 5G cellphone tower, congressional member gets involved 03:26

WYANDOTTE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A T-Mobile 5G tower placed on school property in Wyandotte has stirred up controversy. 

Parents and guardians were looking for answers from the superintendent of the Wyandotte City School District, but those questions weren't answered after the meeting was abruptly canceled. 

The potential effects of radiation are what parents and residents have reservations about.

During last week's meeting, parents told CBS News Detroit, they are not against the tower, just its location outside of Washington Elementary School.

"Our position is we are not against cell towers, we just don't want them on schools," Josh Castmore said.

Rep. Shri Thanedar represents Michigan's 13th District, which includes Wyandotte. The Democratic congressman finds the decision to put a cellphone tower on school property questionable.

"You know the generator that services this tower is sitting in the playground with signs of flammable and danger. And I don't think this was a smart move," Thanedar said.

Thanedar is hoping to facilitate a happy medium. He says he's talked with the mayor and other city leaders. Some were receptive to his thoughts while others felt he was overstepping.

"I am in my lane and the school board and superintendent have no business telling me to get out of this topic, get out of this subject. And telling me that this isn't my business is disrespectful," He noted.

The school board approved the addition of the tower back in 2018. Thanedar, who is a former scientist, understands why parents are shocked.

"We all make mistakes but if the board made a mistake they need to really own that mistake and work with parents to see what to do at this stage," he said.

The school is surrounded by residential homes. With modern society relying on the internet frequently, some neighbors feel the tower is just another step towards modernization.

"I have older nieces and nephews that don't have textbooks they work out of Chromebooks, so are you going to have these kids in school without the proper technology?" Brent Hornbeck told CBS News Detroit.

Hornbeck says he understands both sides of the disagreement.

CBS News Detroit emailed school board members hoping to get their take on the situation but we have yet to hear back.

The tower is reportedly in compliance with FCC regulations. Thanedar is aiming to resolve the issue with parents and the district amicably. 

"We want to solve the problem, we don't want to just blame people," he said.

CBS News Detroit also wanted to get specific answers from T-Mobile too. Like, is the tower on? If not, when is the expected start date? Does T-Mobile have concerns now that thousands are against the tower?

In response, T-Mobile provided us with this statement.

"Wireless facilities like this ensure that communities have the critical internet connectivity they want and need every day. When finding a location for a tower, we look at many factors and follow all applicable local, state, and federal regulations. We've been working alongside Wyandotte Public Schools and the City of Wyandotte to address questions and engage in conversations about the site."

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